Review of "The Labyrinth" EP-CD by Warpness Written by Richard Gürtler
Behind Warpness is hidden Norwegian soundcarver Tom Ståle Engebretsen, who is responsible for gemstones such as "Atmosphere", released in April 2017, or "Tralfamadore" recorded under the name Elrox Ambient Session. This one is out since August 2015. Warpness' newest EP "The Labyrinth" was released on Tom's Tape The Sound label during July 2017, the main idea behind this release was born after Warpness recorded a track "The Labyrinth" for a compilation on Italian label Eight Tower Records entitled "Labyrinth". The CDr comes in a plastic sleeve with 2-panel insert.
The 4-track EP reveals with the main composition, 5-minute "Part 1", which appears on above mentioned "Labyrinth" compilation. Emerging enigmatic, choir-driven drone reinforced by cyber-tech signals and bleeps along with ephemeral chopper fragments drifts, meanders and surreptitiously coalesces with persistently ascending and evanescing array of bizarre meridians. "Part 2" incorporates glimmeringly mesmerizing trotting rhythm bridged with rather minimal, ear-tickling icy sounds. Hissy quietudes clandestinely permeate across along with intangibly guarding buzzes, while reflective chords of electric strings slowly percolate as well. Intriguingly sparse, yet abundantly efficient. "Part 3", at 3:33 the shortest piece on the EP, delves into weirder and intenser terrains, merging constantly arising voice glimpses with rawer stringed tapestries and guiding steady cadences of light industrial fragrances, here and there imbued by peculiarly titillating sci-fi flares. Nearly 7-minute long "Part 4" closes this entertaining ride with nebulously squeaking timbres and relentlessly helixing oracular roars, which are tightly hanging above traversing laid-back downtempo repetitions and transient diaphanous stringed exotica occasionally thrown in.
Although "The Labyrinth" is to my taste more rhythm-charged endeavor, its sole creator has again managed to fully unfold his creatively distinctive insignias that were extraordinarily exhibited on already mentioned masterpieces such as "Tralfamadore" and "Atmosphere". Sure, a journey that lasts only for 21 minutes is a quite short for some deeper immersion, but even this brief effort clearly showcases the gift of Tom Ståle Engebretsen. And by the way, when ordering "Atmosphere" CDr, you get "The Labyrinth" CDr EP as a free bonus. Add to that "Tralfamadore" and you will get a bundle you simply can't go wrong with!!! And if you are a cassette aficionado, then you might want to include also "One Note" album released in December 2016.
Richard Gürtler (Nov 27, 2017, Bratislava, Slovakia)