Review: Albrecht La'Brooy - Healesville

Review: Albrecht La'Brooy - Healesville

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Melbourne pair Albrecht La’Brooy have long represented a pocket of local electronic music that grows with them as much as it owes to them. Since independently releasing the “Good Morning Passengers” EP in 2014 there have been a bunch of dripping wet ambient drops on their label Analogue Attic Recordings. Local legends such as Sleep D, Rings Around Saturn and more recently Sydney duo Thomas Gray and Liam Ebbs just to name a few. All of these artists can sometimes be brushed with the same melancholic stroke but in reality they all occupy an individually nuanced space between nature, the recording studio and the club dancefloor. 

Alex Albrecht and Sean La’Brooy have themselves traversed many different spaces of the techno spectrum but in this latest instalment “Healesville” their improvised craft is stripped back and tuned into the rich tapestry of countryside tranquility. This approach is nothing out of the blue as we are no strangers to the serene jazz blends these two can conjure up, but there is a different feel to this composition.

It is evident from the first track “Afternoon Carafe” that the environment is in full control. It is the lead instrument, the driving force and the guiding spirit all at once whilst dictating the fragile sounds that dance around it. The celestial synths chime amongst the chatter of birds before mellifluously mixing into the next track “Tractor”.

As the whirring hum of industry resonates off the machinery in the field and is pitted against the sounds of idle chatter a firm sense of sonder and civilisation further develop this sonic sphere.
The 12 minute long procession broods into “Alex’s Lullaby” adding another dimension to this world which continues to build as the electro echoes and stabs bounce off the sounds of bird calls creating a mystical curiosity.

There often seems to be a habit amongst ambient releases to require a climactic moment of vision, discovery or revolution that points the listener toward some sort of deeper meaning or revelation. But the final two tracks “Healesville” and outro “Sean’s Lullaby” offer no such moment. Instead they descend into content blissful rumination, pondering the peculiarity of the discourses in which the tracks before them seemed to invoke. As if at the exact moment that the tractor should roar, or the agonising strings and pads should engulf the entire composition, they instead just… don’t. The environment ever so slowly and effortlessly assumes control without as much as a whisper of resistance, offering no solutions but rather just basking in the journey of the questions.

Fittingly the tractor rolls past the field recorder one last time as the composition slowly meanders off and over the rolling hills and into the distance.

Words: Jack Ball

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