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Black Moth Super Rainbow - Falling Through a Field

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Artist: Black Moth Super Rainbow

Album: Falling Through a Field

Label: Graveface

Review date: Jan. 5, 2004

Pennsylvania's mysterious Black Moth Super Rainbow here offer a collection of strange songs, most of which are under the three-minute mark, like short stories. When there are vocals, they're done in a sort of languid whisper, often mixed low and difficult to understand, so they tend to fade in and become just another sound. The overall feeling is of melancholy, though the sometimes upbeat drum loops and often goofy synthesizers provide sufficient contrast to prevent things from being unrelenting.

"The Magical Butterfly Net" is an example of the more downer tendencies, with slowly plinging crystalline notes and melancholy, murmured vocals, while the opening "Vietcaterpillar" places happy synth bloops over mid-tempo solid drums. The lengthy-titled "I Think It's Beautiful that you are 25b Colors too" combines more simple electronic rhythms with sad, spoken vocals.

Some of the longer pieces have trouble staying in one place for long. "Letter People Show" opens with a picked guitar loop, then drums and synth bloops come in, with more of the trademark whispery vocals. The piece changes awkwardly back and forth between the guitar loop and the drum/synth segments. "Dandelion Graves," the longest track, at 4:44, begins with organ and what sounds like weirdly synthesized vocals, then the drum loop comes in and moves things along more quickly. The song oddly fades out a minute before the end, and then layered Tangerine Dream-like synths take over until the finish.

"Lake Feet" is unusual in its choice of slowly-plucked guitar and reverb-soaked piano, and together with the brief, aptly-titled "Sun Organ," make up some of the prettier, more emotional pieces.

Unfortunately, halfway through Falling Through a Field the songs start to blend together. They all follow an identical formula: strange, layered synthesizers create a vague melody over simply-constructed drum loops, with occasional murky, whispery vocals. The problem is that the melodies never quite reach full development, so there's nothing to really latch onto, resulting in a lack of individual personalities. Any one of them on its own is perfectly nice, but after listening to a half-dozen of the short pieces, none of them individually sticks in my memory.

There's definite potential here, and the album is perfectly listenable and relatively enjoyable. But I'll be looking forward to BMSR developing things further next time.

By Mason Jones

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