The debut album of electronic outfit Craven Faults is a decidedly slow affair. Motifs appear and develop over periods of 10 minutes or more, drones blur and focus in a woozy fashion, and the closest thing to percussion is occasional thuds that mark some sort of pulse. Erratics & Unconformities is a record of six tracks, and each is a showcase in stark, poignant minimalism.
Opening track Vacca Wall features synth ostinatos of varying length, the mood of the track shifting accordingly from a panicked two-note motif to a more cerebral three notes, then to a heady four. Modulation also plays its role, with staccato blips becoming broad streaks of neon as the song progresses, and the whole thing is underpinned by cavernous bass that will prove to be a mainstay of the record.
Hangingstones takes things in a more drone-ish direction, a shimmering note and some watery phaser taking centre-stage as layers gradually build up around it, including growling overtones, cross-rhythms and some of the aforementioned thuds. Meanwhile, Deipkier impresses with a fugal organ line and a glacial, mutating atmosphere that takes the listener on a journey before ending the track just as it began.
The middle of the album is weaker, with Cupola Smelt Mill’s coda being far more interesting than the rest of the track and Slack Sley & Temple’s arrangement so bare that it starts to feel like a mind-numbing endurance test. These are moments where the sound design is not intriguing enough to justify its repetition, and the ambient style loses its appeal.
However, closing track Signal Post makes up for this with an intoxicating chord sequence (reminiscent of a slowed-down version of Radiohead’s Everything In Its Right Place) and lo-fi embellishments, leaving Erratics & Unconformities as a patchy but promising release.