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Music Review

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Artist: PG.Lost
Label: Pelagic Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 20 November 2020

Pelagic Records releases Oscillate, the fifth full album by Experimental Post-Rock/Post-Metal band PG.Lost. They formed in 2004 in Norrkoping, Sweden, and incorporate Mattias Bhatt on guitar, Martin Hjertstedt (ex-Ghost) on drums, Gustav Almberg (The Great Discord) on guitar, and Kristian Karlsson (Cult of Luna) on bass. Previous releases include the self-titled EP (2006), the Yes, I Am EP (2007), and the LPs It’s Not Me, It’s You! (2008), In Never Out (2009), Key (2012), the Wang Wen split LP (2013), and the popular Versus (2016). Oscillate is described as ten tracks of pure drama and catharsis. The theme has you or the unknown protagonist trapped in a dark, musty and claustrophobic cavern environment, desperately digging at the rock to reveal a single point of blinding light. Hope and salvation is so near and yet so far away. The band has been compared to Black Emperor and MONO, and influences range from the emotional heft of Big Thief, to the inventive spirit of Krautrock; the brutality of Neurosis, to the experimentalism of Coil. Oscillate is available on Limited Vinyl, CD, and for download...

PG.Lost has an Instrumental leaning which strives for a grand cinematic experience of high drama. The opening track, 'Oscillate' begins with low synths and dark ambient noises. A simple repeated theme is given space in the build-up, and it becomes the full band melody. The drums set up their own pattern, and the whole is allowed to enter our consciousness before the intensity is increased. A great launch to the album. 'E22' has a trembly guitar intro crept-up upon by a solid drum beat and a wide music experience. Again, the track chooses its theme and makes it the central body of the piece. It undoubtedly amalgamates the Rock band and film soundtrack formats. It’s very atmospheric. It partly withdraws at times, or lays on an extra thick sound, but never loses touch with the listener’s connection. 'Mindtrip' has a tentative start burst open by a basic guitar and drums riff. It becomes a guitar and synth melody flying over the main beat. The quality of the sound is immense. It would be great to lie in the garden on a hot Summer’s day, staring at the clouds and listening to this momentous experiment of synergetic sounds washing through your headphones and your head.

'Shelter' leads us into the track with a reverb-inflected electronic synth sound, blasted away by the emotional beast that is PG.Lost. A loud ringing guitar soars for a moment, before the drum pattern forms the basis for a more contemplative piece. The drums drive it higher once again as it breaks free and takes to the skies again. There are touches of bite in this without losing the melody. It sees the track out with an almost church organ feel. 'Suffering' has a warbling synth and atmospheric noises fluttering around it. The synth chugs away, becoming an engine of sorts before the full sound takes to the skies with higher notes. It lands once more, chugging and fluttering until the emotional button is pressed again and we don’t know whether to feel happy, sad or simply contemplative. 'Waves' opens with a low organ piece which sounds vaguely familiar. Yet another drum pattern enters with the guitar taking over the melody. Although still brilliant, this track outstays its welcome a little at over seven minutes. However, it does become slightly heavier towards the end. You can’t help but be drawn in by this music. It spreads tendrils through your system and makes you think about what you’re feeling as you listen.

'Eraser' jumps straight in with the full band sound. Another nice drum pattern reigns over the proceedings until a thicker sound and heavier guitars makes it a part of the whole. It goes though three sections of light and shade without losing its thick and wide sound. It eases off to introduce an alternative bass line and beat. Moderate but just as intensive. The guitars create the melody to each ear and the drums are central to the piece again. This is such good stuff. It’s simply impossible to do it justice in mere words. I would challenge anyone who gives this music proper time and opportunity not to be blown away by what it does to you, with what are basic melodies. It has a feeling of enveloping you in sound; your’re just not certain whether it’s comforting or unnerving.

The final track, 'The Headless Man', is the longest of the album. The bass guitar plays a low tune against a ringing – almost chiming – background guitar. An echoing reverb guitar joins the bass. A crunchy synth leads in the rest of the band. A soaring piece of music which becomes more substantial and surrounds you. The drums have quite a basic beat, but as the track moves on Hjertstedt does what he can to add a wider pattern with fills and little drum rolls. This closer, if anything, is the weakest of this offering. However, you still can’t knock the music, the concept or the production. This has come as a very pleasant surprise, and I can’t recommend this release highly enough. It’s more than music. It’s more than soundscapes. It’s feeling. I challenge anybody not to be intrigued, if not totally moved by this. In my eyes, the entirety of the music and production is award-winning stuff. In the early days of DVDs there were nature or space collections with accompanying music. This would fit one of those like a glove. It’s what you might expect to hear on TV programmes where the visuals cannot be given justice by mere words. Buy it!


Ty Power

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