Album, Single and EP Reviews



  To The River Lounge by Harold Nono

To The River Lounge cover art

Artist: Harold Nono
Title: To The River Lounge
Catalogue Number: Bearsuit 002
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2006

For a man who has his music on so many download sites, it's next to impossible to find out anything about Harold Nono, the man behind the album in front of me. Maybe this air of mystery is a good thing…

In an album with hints of the Aphex Twin and FSoL, one of the better tracks is "Rain", a dreamy soundscape which reminds me of the classical piece Gymnopédie (the sad music Benny Hill always used for his clown/tramp sketches). At a paltry 2:43, this is one track which could have been built up with the simple, improvised piano being expanded on beyond the basic two chord backing. It is indeed unfortunate, therefore, that Mr Nono allows this track to float on to an unsatisfying conclusion without any sense of direction. Another near miss is "Waterspeakers", which has a similar idea to the Aphex Twin/Philip Glass collaboration "Icct Hedral". However, instead of being an imperceptibly growing and evolving piece, this one drifts without form for nearly half its 5:30 length before taking a left turn with wind chimes and pulsing sound effects being ramped into the track at speed.

"Tacky Tigers" is a poor mismatch of sections, forced together much in the same way as a cut-and-shunt car is assembled. With such a vehicle put together with the right other sections, you might have a machine in which it would be a joy to travel upon the Queens Highway. This, however, is 5:18  of ill thought-out, half-ideas, forced together by a welder with all the finesse of Leatherface and his chainsaw.

There have been a lot of other CDs which I've been asked to review, and by and large, I've managed to find some merit in most but, even on repeated listenings, I fail to get the point of this one. Even at their most experimental the best of the electronica genre understand the point of structure, and even squeeze in a melody or two. Unfortunately Mr Nono seems to forego either in favour of shoehorning disparate samples into an unfocused, meandering album. To The River Lounge is neither challenging, nor avant-garde, as I'm sure Mr Nono would wish, but ill thought out and ultimately dull.
Review Date: March 25 2008