Mick Harris' (Scorn, Lull, Main) 1999
side project Trace Decay shows yet another side to
this artist's growing catalog of work. On first look at the
song list of seven tracks, a casual listener might wonder
at the length of any album consisting of only seven tracks.
But, then again, this album probably won't be appreciated
by the casual listener. On deeper inspection, the listener
will find that the shortest track is just under 6 minutes,
and most of the rest are between 9 and 11 minutes in length.
While the lengthiness may seem daunting, the ebb and flow
of each of the aurally dark tracks seems to roll with casual
ease. For the most part, they set their own pace, even if
at times, like during Albemic, the over-and-over beat
may feel a little tired. Sonically, Trace Decay can
be best described as slow electronic drums layered with passive,
yet deep, baselines with a sprinkling of ambient sounds to
keep the long-playing fresh.
For listeners who may not be strong on the ambient/industrial/dub
genre, this album may get old and repetitive quickly. There
are no 3 minute, quick and catchy tracks here. While the repetitive
motion of the music is intentional, it isn't conducive to
people with short attention spans. People who are into Mick
Harris and Bill Laswell will know what to expect, even if
this feels a little slower than some of Harris' other works.
Some tracks of note: Advocatus Diaboli comes out as
a haunting overture, with casual drumbeats that take a beating
from the overtly electronic bass line that pulses in and out.
Albemic crashes along disjointedly, never feeling on
time during it's mightly length, while the following track
Nostoi feels smooth with probably the most up-tempo
beat in the disc.
I won't lie to you, Trace Decay is not an album that
the casual listener will like. It isn't catchy or commercial.
It's dark and slow, but within it's slow pulse is a life that
modern radio never sees. Fans of the genre should at least
give this a listen. It's well worth the time to just sit back