Grinded Grin hold nothing back and refuse to adhere to expectation or industry standards with this aptly-titled album Reset. Taking their time to craft uniquely ambient soundscapes around the listener, the band offer an original fusion of various musical angles and genres, and they do so in a thoughtful, expressive and fascinating manner.
Petulance as an opener is the perfect example, a journey unfolds that begins in one way and progresses in entirely another. There’s a clear intention to the piece, atmospheric layers fuse with organic instrumentation to build something compelling and consistently unpredictable.
Deducted pushes the experimental aura a little further, a slightly haunting mood emerges – audio toyed with before you, stretched, warped and re-imagined. A human whisper adds intensely to the darkness and, as proves to always be the case, the soundscape has no difficulty holding tight to your attention. Once the bass-line kicks in, you start to really appreciate the musicianship – something that impresses in a subtle but certain way throughout.
Truly free creativity is alive and well, and Grinded Grin live for that fact. Every one of these tracks is a unique experience in itself, expressive and unusual, refreshing and increasingly loaded with a definite sense of identity.
Wretch pt.1 floats through about as far from the mood implied by the title as possible. A delicate, freely meandering solo performance offers a sense of joy and calm. Then you get to witness the real power of contrast in all of its glory. Pond Spinning is a sensational rock track, a thick wall of distorted audio accompanies a soulful saxophone; the energy is high and the whole thing hits with incredible impact. A definite highlight and inspiring from a musical perspective. The latter half sees things veer off again as the story develops and evolves – there’s that clever use of contrast again.
Bubbles is another personal favourite for the nostalgic mood it creates – the mind takes you wandering through the streets of some small European village. The quiet and the optimism have a calming effect. After this, Confronted is superb and features the first use of language via a clearly audible human voice. At this point it’s apparent that the project in full is where the strength really lies – each composition could be a highlight, but the complete journey makes for something really special and considerably interesting.
Confronted feels like a meditative moment but guided by a conversation you almost sense that you shouldn’t be listening to – some private, overheard monologue. Meanwhile the music swallows you up. Things progress and grow intensely throughout this ten-minute epic. A very fine and clever bit of artistry.
Emergence lets layers of electronica surround and envelop you – the hum is quite overwhelming and the additional effects and details really play with your head-space. This later grows into something of a melodic and tribal piece of music, still that distant hum lingers though. Time-Lapse follows and is a simpler, easy piece to enjoy.
Departure is experimental yet smooth and the building blocks feel quite familiar at this point. Afterwards, a soft and spacious, organic, piano-led ambiance emerges alongside of some consistent snoring for Jackie’s Dream. Grinded Grin never fail to offer something completely unexpected.
The final track on this album is a seven-minute composition called Densely. The reverb-soaked guitar sound and the atmospheric warmth work beautifully as an introduction, they also add further eclecticism to an already jam-packed project of creative freedom. This piece gathers momentum brilliantly and becomes another personal favourite that’s easy to revisit. A great way to go out and a lasting reminder that this album is a breath of fresh air for instrumental music.
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