|Artist: Mandible Chatter|
Album: Of Foreign Lands and People
Should you come by Of Foreign Lands and People at your local record shop's listening station, please be careful. If you buy this album based on its few opening moments of warm, heart-felt acoustic guitar ramblings amid sounds of wildlife and nature, you will be in for a very big surprise; for later - when that goblet of Merlot turns to vinegar and the hottub you are drinking it in a boiling witch's caldron - you will find yourself struggling under the quiet weight of a curious music based outside the frames of reality. Mandible Chatter, the ongoing musical experiment between Neville Harson and Grant Miller, deals well with the exploitation of contrasts. Their timeless soundings of negative space consuming idyllic scenes, mysterious influences in collapsing silence, wrong turns and blind alleys, put their music at the dark intersection of Ambient and Industrial music. Their work does not posses the neutrality of true Ambient music, nor the jagged edge of the Industrial; it demands the listener's attention without the abrasions and abuse. Of Foreign Lands and People brings into the world this duo's odd internal life, one of alienation and isolation ever lifted by hope. The album's mood and tone range from the airy lightness of drifting, soft soundworlds and pastel accented vignettes to masses of dense ceremonial cyber-beats and shifting subterranean monsters. The human voice chanting in overtones, the lilting strains of reverb enshrouded fiddle and synth... and then... wailing harmonica blows hovering above a machine-like pulse, failing hums and buzzes folding in on themselves alongside looping percussion... So who then is the audience Mandible Chatter is trying to reach? Witches and warlocks? Cyberpunks or techno-kids? New Agers turned Tribal-ethno? Of Foreign Lands and People is an intelligent work which, through its challenging nature, leads the listener. While this album may be beyond the grasp of some, this original mode of expression must be appreciated as it is a most valid form of art - representing the enduring and fascinating struggle to comprehend what is at first impenetrable... the wondrous state of discovery. After all, we do not engage in this type of music to find out what we already know.
- Chuck van Zyl/STAR'S END 8 January 2004