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"Review for 'Arrivals' (2009)"

Pitchfork review (7.6)

For rockers dipping a toe into the unstable sea of electronic music, the guitar can serve as a sort of emergency floatation device: Helpful to those who haven't given up on notions of the guitar's emotional supremacy, distracting to those who prefer to swim, though they risk sinking. The guitar parts were the least interesting elements of Leeds duo Worriedaboutsatan's first two EPs of IDM-bolstered post-rock, subjugating atmospheric subtleties to prosaic chord progressions.

On Arrivals, they abandon the guitar on the shore and paddle out past the breakwater, into a vast and shifting calm. (In reality, they still use guitars, although they are seldom recognizable as such.) It retains post-rock's long stride while jettisoning its typical palette, blending it with a variety of moods-- dub's spaciousness, trip-hop's sullenness, ambient music's austerity, and minimal techno's grid-based pitter-patter, all seamlessly rolled together in alert modulations of intensity.

The bass on this album is so distant and ruminative that it seems partially submerged, like the back of an immense sea-creature rhythmically slipping above and below the waves. The percussion is manicured yet spritzy, with the baroque cadences of spitting rain. Periodic vocal samples are hung about in hazy washes, making it sound a bit like Burial for English-Lit majors. The structures are crescendo-based, but arrive by such creeping degrees that we're never jarred, only soothed, lulled.

This is consummate mood-music that glints with striking details. There's the high, held tone cycling through the nocturnal drive of "I Am a Crooked Man", with its nearly visual wobble. There's the telegraphic progression of "Pissing About", a stable axis in a prismatic blur of texture and rhythm. There's the strangulated glitch-melody of "History Is Made at Night", seeming always on the verge of breaking into lush glissando. Who needs guitars when you've got string-like themes scudding majestically above rippling sonar blips, scratchy-record percussion giving form to rushing waters and howling winds? The music is so immaculately tasteful that it's hard to figure out how they chose such a silly band name. (It's from a song by the Belgian band dEUS, which makes it no less silly.) But they got the album title right-- they've arrived. - Pitchfork

"Review for 'Arrivals' (2009)"

Drowned in Sound review for 'Arrivals' (8/10)

Some records are made to be listened to in certain situations, sometimes regardless of their aim or conception but often because of it. Kraftwerk's Autobahn is an obvious example, and one which clicks, strangely enough, on almost deserted, dim-lamp lined motorways, deep into darkest night. Best of the recent examples of this would be Zombie Zombie's A Land For Renegades, which falls firmly into the mentioned aesthetic. Worriedaboutsatan's Arrivals should be filed here, too. Though a record which is lighter – less garish synth work, more delicate intricacies – than the aforementioned two, it's still one whose true character can only be shown when digesting at the right time, in the right place. It would be nearly a travesty and betrayal to absorb the minutiae of the Leeds electronica duo's début LP in anything close to daylight. At a watery dusk it still seems like an injustice is being done to a body of work which so clearly and ably soundtracks the nocturnal as much as it does the subconscious.

Throughout history, music – songs, albums, operas, concertos and every form otherwise – has mostly been about things that have happened. Arrivals is about things that don't happen, haven't happened and the anticipation of such – this is the crux. Elements of the post-rock ethos are present but don't fully infiltrate the sound. The art of tension building is one such element which does. The usual process which follows mounting tension is to then release the slack, cut back, do the staggeringly predictable – the quiet,quiet,quiet to LOUD ambience – but the experience of exaltation here is never anything but incremental.

'Pissing About' sees a Morse-code loop repeated to near-death with only the vaguest, slightest manipulations and additions to the surrounding sound. It's an incessant, almost musical metaphor for insomnia, as for six-and-a-half minutes the world seems to stop and allows you to refocus. Arrivals is not a confusing record but one which lets you to gather your thoughts rather than lose them.

Unlike close musical relatives and fellow eschewers of spacing, 65daysofstatic, nuances are what worriedaboutsatan rely upon. No such supersonic supernovae of crashing audio as a cloak against quality or variation of ideas. Nothing much happens on Arrivals, yet it is an album which is undoubtedly whole; more complete with each and every disconcerting listen. Drifting in and out of tension-inducing metallic sounding tracks is not novel but keeping a sustainable interest for an hour is done without ease. One thing which does fit to form of genre is the use of disembodied, distant voices which are horrifyingly clichéd wherever used, in any situation.

For reasons dipped into above, 'History Is Made At Night' is a fitting title. Elements of scatterbrain randomness a la Four Tet creep in before melding into 'You're In My Thoughts' elevating worriedaboutsatan to true purveyors of pulsating post-rock. The two genres remain well married throughout and are as much worriedaboutsatan's "sound" as anything.

The whole “post-rock without guitars” (yes, worriedaboutsatan do have guitars...) thing can be like saying “post-rock without the rock” but it sums up significant portions – if not most – of Arrivals. Yet there are always exceptions to boundaries which seem cut and dry but are knocked and chipped at by pioneers. It would smack more than faintly on hyperbole to say that this is a pioneering album, regardless of its qualities. I shan't waste any more words on what genre the sea of sound that is Arrivals fits into. Let's just call it an hour's worth of creepy, organic, nearly always-tension-building electronic ambience which certainly owes as much, if not more, to the hidden influences as the obvious ones.

-Luke Slater - Drowned in Sound


Heart Monitor (single)

Arrivals Remixed (2 CD album)
Arrivals (album)

EP02 (EP)

s/t (mini album)



We started in 2006, with a view to taking our favourite elements of post rock and electronica and meld them together.

A few years later, we're now making atmospheric techno, with skyscraping guitar atmospherics, in the same vein as people like Burial, The Sight Below, Trentemøller, Shackleton and Apparat.