Grist is an Australian solo-project that makes improvised and ritualistic music based solely on "found sounds." He has made a good amount of releases with very limited pressings, and has taken part on many compilations as well. This is the only Grist-release that has found its way to me, as of now.

The four songs present repetitive, droning and darkened ambient soundscapes. They all have a simplistically layered and echoed sound, which makes the songs sound soft while still having some deepness, structure and slight rugged edge. The soundscape is dark but not hostile, although some of the harsher "waves" occasionally soaring from the distance sound brooding. The calmer and more signal-like sounds occasionally in the back even give the album some space ambient-vibe.

As for more detail, the opener is a really calm eleven-minuter. It starts off really minimalistically, and despite growing more mass throughout its lenght it retains its calm and even soothing feel, until it's really minimalistic and stylish fade-out. Its follower is close to twenty minutes long and explains why I ran into the words "black metal" while searching for info about this album; it begins with a short loop that at least resembles a short electric guitar riff, but most of it is covered by a strong and pounding bassy drone that really takes over the whole soundscape in a dull manner, and while tending to sound like a separate element in it. Luckily the track with its drone calms down before it's halfway, turning into a very minimalistic mixture of low droning with a hint of gritty noise. The track evolves to some noisier dimensions and the "guitar riff" makes a comeback, but overall it doesn't manage to achieve as much as it could've. The noisy and deep drones before the track's end sound rather good, but their structure and feel is ruined by their inbalanced soundscape and the few looped and (more or less) glued-on samples.

The third track is a nine-minuter that's built from a short and looped acoustic guitar melody that's backed by some thin and flanged electronic waves. The riff and its sound is good, but the drones make the track sound equally imbalanced to its predecessor. I also wish the artist had played the melody himself, as looping it does a huge amount of damage to its otherwise natural sound. The final track is a whopping 30 minutes long, and while I'm not going to go through it here, I can only say it pretty much continues in the same way as the previous tracks. It varies between screeching electronic high notes and grainier drone, as well as very minimalistic and more layered and chaotic parts.

The album suffers highly from a few basic errors, some of which came up in the previous two paragraphs. The most noteworthy one is the even mathematical type of composing and the high amout of used loops and repetition; the songs progress in a predictable way, and the flanged drones as well as the electronic noises provide very little room for exploration or findings as their sound and patterns are easily predictable just after a short while of getting to know them. The songs provide no real originality or insights. The soundscape is not unified enough to actually sound powerful, and a lot of the contrast between organic and electronic sounds is unnatural.

The album could've been really good if it wasn't so enslaved to following its patterns, if the songs crafted with more care, and if the artist would have given less weight to the crudest experiments. The artist seems to have some skills in putting together quality soundscapes, but he just hasn't employed them too effectively when it comes to this album.

5 / 10