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Et Ret - Gasworks

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Artist: Et Ret

Album: Gasworks

Label: Western Vinyl

Review date: Jul. 20, 2006

This short CD introduces Et Ret, apparently a single person who crafted these guitar and violin works. While some might be tempted to use the word "experimental" to describe the songs, they're really not – while these instrumental tracks aren't pop songs, they might be better described as mood pieces, soundtracks in spirit if not in fact.

"The First Day" offers swelling violin and softly tapped organ, a gentle audio sunrise followed by "The Need for Work," seemingly electronic sounds layered over a simple acoustic guitar motif, slowly swelling and gathering dramatic impact. That guitar gives it a not-unwelcome Morricone flavor.

Other songs take a path closer to Fahey territory, with "Run On A Head" placing plucked steel strings amid quiet background humming and buzzing. "Won By Walking" successfully blends two interlocking guitars playing complementary melodies while multiple violins drone and saw short notes over them.

The final two songs tread closest to Godspeed You! Black Emperor, not necessarily a bad thing. "It Was Pure Folly" is a slow, deep song that's the most reminiscent of that collective's oft-copied modus operandi, mood-setting with minor key dramatics to good effect. "Letting Go of the Balloon" finishes the album with the most "experimental" piece. The six minutes of organ and violin drone with sparse cymbals would seem to weigh things down too much, but it moves confidently forward without getting bogged down. Small shifts of sound and well-placed clusters of notes maintain interest through to the end.

Et Ret, whoever it may be, has crafted a well-done album, probably wisely kept on the short side. Many artists make the mistake of failing to edit, but in this case quality over quantity demonstrates welcome self-awareness. Better to leave us waiting for more, which is what I'll now do.

By Mason Jones

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