header: Reviews

Reviews for [RL97]
Cestine "Other Half/Bright Encounter"

  • Floorshine Zipper Boots
    Other Half/Bright Encounter is the new album from Cestine. The Ann Arbor, MI duo of Dominic Coppola and Theodore Schafer make minimalist ambient music. The two tracks, totaling 15 minutes of music each, flow through ambient soundscapes with a very natural type of progression, seemingly spawning an organic feeling, rather than one of manufactured music. The layers build and fall like a day passing across one's observation, leaving a unique impression with each listener. This is mature music for those who can appreciate sound as aural art, rather than sound as entertainment. Stream and buy Other Half/Bright Encounter on limited edition cassette at the link below.

  • Raised By Gypsies
    As much as I like to think of Rok Lok Records as this lo-fi type of label that puts out bands of that nature, I always forget that I first heard Squanto through them and, well, Rok Lok can bring out the instrumental and ambient side of things as well. Though, in all reality, it is probably not best to peg Rok Lok as a label into any single genre. "Other Half/Bright Encounter" is in essence a cassingle from Cestine as each side is a single song, though it is roughly fifteen minutes per side so it's not particularly fit for radio unless you go to the bathroom a lot. "Other Half" is full of ambient waves and it also kind of sounds like it could be set in space. It's the drone of the Masters of the Universe key (in the live action movie mind you, because that was such an awesome musical instrument) and like most ambient drone music I hear it is only ever slightly changing. "Bright Encounter" ends in a sort of drone way but otherwise it isn't that close to the sound of "Other Half". Through repeating, cascading soft tones, quiet spoken bits come out in a language that is not English and if I had to guess I'd say it was French. Before that eventual drone ending I can hear the sound of seagulls and waves crashing at the beach, which adds speculation as to where this "Bright Encounter" is taking place. Overall Cestine simply set a peaceful mood on this cassette that can transport you to any number of places or simply nowhere at all. Highly recommended for destressing after a long day.

  • Radio Free Midwich: Eject the Tape
    This recording by Cestine, the duo of Dominic Coppola and Theodore Schafer, hovers shimmering between the ‘nothing music’ of Karina ESP I described a few posts ago and the ‘extraction music‘ of Dan Thomas et al that I have been banging on about this year. Two tracks, each lasting fifteen minutes exactly, contain slowly cycling electronics augmented with field recordings – birds, the sea maybe, children – and snatches of whispered conversation, perhaps partially overheard whilst daydreaming, perhaps snatches of radio broadcasts crackling between the stations. It is constructed with a robust attention to detail that allows for deep, repeat listening but conveys a vulnerability, a brittleness too. The contemplative reverie it induces is bitter-sweet and emotionally complicated, like turning over the memory of an important friendship, now long lost. Recommended highly.

  • Andrew Listens
    Cestine is another minimalist ambient drone project—but I don't want to sound dismissive because this kind of music is something I can really never get enough of—especially when it's as beautiful and relaxing as Other Half / Bright Encounter is. Simple washes of looping synths and distant glitches off in the background remind me a bit of Basinski's tape works (without the orchestration). There's also some voice sampling and I think some field recordings mixed in to keep things interesting. Like most drone, it's very slow-burning music (understandable for two big fifteen-minute tracks), but I don't think it ever really goes on longer than it should and the pacing is pretty good. "Bright Encounter" has an especially good structure, with a great fade-in and transition from somber piano to some kind of synthetic-beach aesthetic, back to atmospheric droning. Maybe I'm just a sucker for this genre but I can't recommend Cestine enough. Well-produced zone-out ambient, that's all there is to it.