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alm 68

7 december 2010

photography : delphine ancelle-b.

produced by encomiast 2010


founded in 1999, encomiast is now the solo project of us sound artist ross hagen. a handful of beautiful releases were issued through various labels such as lens records, gears of sand, mystery sea or crucial bliss. "malpais" is a single long piece derived from an old folk song from an archival collection ross was working with a few years ago. it uses a lot of other pieces from that collection as source material throughout. expect layers of slowly evolving drones...


tracklisting :
1. malpais



reviews :

Norman Records
Encomiast is the work of solo artist and sound manipulator Ross Hagen. He's been plying the drone trade for over ten years now so I'm going to assume he's a wizened ambient master by now with plenty to teach these young upstarts littering the scene nowadays. 'Malpias' contains a single piece of music that derives from an unspecified folk song which have been manipulated to the extent that you'd never really know it was based on anything at all. Encomiast predominantly uses effected sting instruments and voice to create his brand of ambient drone but it's always hard to tell what with the advances in post production these days, not to mention the ease with which various sound sources can be merged together and manipulated using the most basic of home studio packages on your laptop. If that's the case here, it's all done with anal consistency and a meticulous attention to detail. I can't begin to imagine what folk song this is based on? Who knows. Still, nice haunting drones. This one clocks in at about twenty minutes and comes on a 3" CD with accompanying 3" case for it to go inside. (Business Lady)

Vital Weekly
Now that Drone records stopped releasing 7" records, there is only one long standing drone label left to follow, and that's Taalem, who reach now their 70th release with these new three releases.
Encomiast have been around since 1999 and had their release reviewed back in Vital Weekly 271. Every now and then they have a new release (see also Vital Weekly 465, 508 and 588). Reducing from a trio, then a duo, now being the solo project of Ross Hagen. Apparently at the foundation of 'Malpais' there is some olf folk song from Hagen's collection, and its played here along with other pieces from that collection. He could have fooled me though. It sounds like he sampled a bunch of guitars, perhaps from those folk songs, and feeds them a bunch of reverb units. Perhaps a bit too many reverb for my taste, as it resembles a somewhat metallic sound, but then that's, sometimes, the life of a drone piece. It sounded alright, but perhaps also a bit unfinished. One senses there could have been more work to it to get a somewhat better composition. It now holds in between a finished piece and a somewhat improvised piece of music. Which, I guess, makes a difference then. [...] (FdW)

taâlem's latest releases, which brings the label's total up to seventy, share many things in common. The three-inch format, of course, is common to all, but each release also features a single ambient drone-styled work of approximately twenty-minute duration. There are clear differences between them, however. Perhaps the optimal listening sequence is to precede the disturbing Ragle Gumm release with the less harrowing one by Encomiast and then conclude the session by basking in the serenity of Mark Bradley's.
The Encomiast project came into being in 1999, has had its work appear on Lens Records, Gears Of Sand, and others, and is now a solo endeavour overseen by sound artist Ross Hagen. What helps give the 2010 work Malpais its distinctive character are the melodic patterns that float overtop the shuddering, echo-chamber electronics, said melodic elements presumably originating out of an old folk song from which the new work is derived and that Hagen found in an archival collection he was working with a few years ago. The folk song itself is unidentifiable, of course, as Hagen's manipulations have long ago spirited away any obvious signs of recognizability. Glassy sounds and what appears to be muffled choir voices echo throughout the piece's haunted corridors, the material smothered in reverb as it drifts like a lost, vaporous entity. [...]

Obsküre Magazine
Après une interruption de quelques mois, Taâlem reprend ses activités avec, comme à l'accoutumée, trois nouveaux mini-CD explorant les facettes les plus inventives du drone et de l'ambient. Commençons par le projet américain, désormais solo, Encomiast, qui transforme sur Malpais une vieille chanson folk en un titre lent et complexe, où des drones s'amalgament en couches fines pour susciter une veritable nostalgie, un sentiment de perte face à l'érosion du temps. [...] 72% (Jean-Fränçois Micard)