Review: Stave – Reform

Initially, Reform comes to me as a corporeally rooted space: a heaving industrial workshop with high ceilings and generous metallic acoustics (“Gun Control”), a cold corridor of techno illuminated by throbbing red lights (“The Fear”), an exceedingly high viewing platform from which both the space-earth boundary and planetary curvature are visible (“Disc1”). A recurring pulse lies at the centre of each like its own heartbeat, acting as the point of congregation for the album’s eerie creaks of noise, cavernously reverberant penny drops and fizzes of hydraulic movement, evoking the same sense of time-abandoning transfixion that turns dance clubs into mass ceremonies of hypnosis.

My perception then switches to the little sub-sounds that cascade out of the central beat. While the details are permitted to congeal to a point where an intimate interconnection exists between them, they’re also sparingly spread across the album’s ultimately minimal setups – crafted to occupy a very precise place that ensures symmetry and equilibrium for the track as a whole, while helping to define the dimensions and angles that define the overall space. They’re starting to slip away from their initial stylistic ties by this point, as words like “industrial” and “techno” begin to feel inadequate to describe Reform’s sculptural states. Repetition sets in, and I travel further down each track’s tunnel of rhythm and infinite echo ricochet.

All of a sudden, I am utterly lost. Even slight inflections of change – gasps of creaking violin, swarms of synth pad agitating themselves – can’t prevent me from going numb to sensory detail such a texture and taste. The same few seconds are repeated to a point where atmosphere and colour are drained from the frame; music slips into audio geometry, turning into an intensive study of rhythm and frozen tonalities that hang in space like a formation of parallel and adjacent lines.