Reviews for [RL93]
Love Letter "Gentle Memories"
- Funeral Sounds
"Gentle Memories is two songs and about forty minutes long and that composition in itself begs a comparison to Godspeed You! Black Emperor - but where Godspeed You! has a full-scale band, a brass section, and god knows what else, Love Letter’s Andrew only pulls out an electric guitar and a whole bunch of effects. Yet, here, he singlehandedly lights up a room.
‘Everywhere We Went’ resonates into view with a single note, then harmonises in on itself; it repeats. It gets bigger and bigger and snowballs into a soundscape that begs on all fours for the beat of a drum, but none come, and instead there is a huge expanse. This is a series of terrifying builds and swells and peaks and troughs and it threatens to overwhelm and destroy and then there’s a mind-blowing section that cries, ‘No, no! I take it all back! I just want somebody to listen,’ followed by a selection of effects so noisy that my first point of comparison is what My Bloody Valentine fans affectionately refer to as “the Holocaust” - a section during a live show which is so blisteringly white noise that earplugs are handed out through the crowds and people who thought they could do without them finally give in.
That being said, it tails off to a pleasant, cleansing selection of piano chords and the static beginning of the next song. ‘Fragments’ boasts a full twenty-one minutes and follows a similar pattern, starting sparse but familiar with strong single notes and reverb so big you can see it trace letters on your foggy windows. Unlike the first one, its buildups are more instrument-driven, more by sheer force than by FX pedals. At the three minute mark, it stumbles, and begins to move again, with apparently growing confidence - think deer learning to walk, over the course of a minute and a half, but then it takes an entirely different tack, one with a masked piano base and careful samples. And, of course, swells so crafted they’re practically orchestral.
Basically, Gentle Memories knows exactly where it’s going, and where it’s going is back and forth over a line so many times that you can’t really see it anymore. And despite that, it has the audacity to want you to keep up! Gosh! Take care with this album and listen to it on misty evenings when the going gets tough.
Overall Rating: 8.8/10"
- Guide Me Little Tape
Static drenched post rock from Love Letter with Gentle Memories on Rok Lok Records. Massive currents of lo fi distortion derived from frantic playing that congeals to form blurry singular crescendos. It's strange and intriguing to see something moving so fast, become something that ultimately feels slow, almost ambient. Two side long tracks. Melody, poignant and strong, sad and beautiful, oozes from every moment. A nostalgic emotional weight that's impossible to ignore. Sounds like a memory so painful you hate to feel it, but so powerful to you that you force yourself to feel it over and over again.
Edition of 50 hand numbered copies. Hand painted labels in a wonderful blue. Stream in full and grab from the Rok Lok Bandcamp.
- Half Gifts Issue #10
I've been writing about Rok Lok's tape releases ever since I began publishing Half Gifts, yet the label never ceases to leave me amazed at how cohesive its discography is. Each album released by the imprint packs a pummeling lo-fi punch, tinged with abrasive tape hiss and caked in warm reverb, yet it gives us a different take on the aesthetic. There's the bassy grunge growl of Hiders' "Bloom", Ron Beaudet's jangly and sardonic surf-pop and as of July, the dramatic post rock flair that drives Love Letter's "Gentle Memories". It's two tracks long, but both cuts stretch out at least 15 minutes a piece The first of the two ambient guitar jams, "Everywhere We Went" is a gentle and rippling, shimmering chord splashes sending waves in all directions. As these waves, intersect, they distort, building up to the sides atonal, crushing conclusion. "Fragments" is more minimal and desolate, each arpeggio met with a tinny flicker of industrial clang before the guitar creature settles into a murky slither.
- Lost In a Sea of Sound
Here are two releases from Love Letter on Rok Lok Records. The earliest is It Brought Us Something We Had to Know. This was followed up shortly after in the same year with Gentle Memories. Love Letter has a unique style of ambient washed out drone. A huge wall of textured sounds with rippling feedback. So high, it is difficult to hear anything beyond. The wall somehow is comforting in the aspect it secures the listener rather than keeps them out.
It Brought Us Something We Had to Know is four tracks divided over two sides. "Rising Into the Treetops", the first track is a mass of sound that gives way to more gentle melodies on the second track "Ursa Minor". Here, the guitar guides the listener through the immense field of electronic weeds. The first track on the second side "Heaven Falling (Ashes Rising)", seems to combine facets of both the first two tracks. Flickering guitar melodies that become clear in an unstable fire of sound. "Joe Pipkin All Tucked In His Bed", is the last track and is all together different. More like a Bongwater song with a very young Ann Magnuson at the helm.
Gentle Memories is the second release by Love Letter on Rok Lok Records. Two side long tracks that together, approach forty minutes length. The entire cassette is very similar to It Brought Us Something We Had to Know. The biggest difference is this composition seems like it has been cooked a little longer. As there is a more raw tone with the first tape, Gentle Memories has had more to stew. The sounds are just a tad more gentle and this becomes even more apparent on the second side, titled "Fragments".
With both tapes being released only months apart, there is an feeling that seems to glue these two releases together. Both on Rok Lok Records, in editions of fifty, and available from the labels bandcamp page. There is also a Love Letter Bundle, that includes both tapes and a more recent ten inch lathe in a super limited run.