Record review: Small Scale Collisions – Incredible Scenes

Trying to find any background information about Small Scale Collisions online is a near futile task as all you will really find out is that they are a Glasgow based collaboration that specialize in ambient, electronic soundscapes.

 

However, it starts to make sense when you take a look into their live set-up and the hypnotic visuals that accompany their sound. Your attention is drawn away from the performance and performers leaving your senses open to be engulfed by the experience. The only thing that exists is the audio and the visual.

In their own words Small Scale Collisions describe their music as “…haunting, impressionistic music that is subtle yet steeped in nascent ambiguities.” There’s no better wa I can describe it and their newest release, a three song EP aptly named “Incredible Scenes”, sticks to that description.

The title track consists of an underlying synthesized drone that pulsates and pans with static. While this slowly falls and rises, weaving throughout its digital mass appears a series of seemingly random, distorted and fleeting melodies coupled with sporadic appearances of what could be a guitar. Underneath it all, more synthesized bass sounds bounce and swell seeming free from each other as well as the rest of the track.

Every sound seems to be disconnected from the next and yet, as you fall into a deep musical comatose and the world stops spinning around you, complex patterns seems to reveal themselves within the music. Once you have rolled yourself up into ‘Incredible Scenes’, and might as well be unconscious (that is if this kind of audio experience does anything for you), what seems to be a fade out just rolls straight into ‘Seratonin Jpeg’, leaving you contently disconnected from reality.

You are left with a long diminishing echo from the last song and are greeted by a series of synth sounds and a subtle guitar loop. A man’s voice talks about what seems to be nuclear power, but you are now lost within the new soundscape and it becames part of the scenery. The voice reaches you like the sound of people talking while you drift between being awake and asleep in the back of a car.

Once the speech reaches its end its space is taken by long distant notes that rise and fall into each other. This grows and grows until becoming near chaotic before the end where everything falls away again and the last of the fading drone blurs the gap between the final piece; ‘Little Eyebrows At The Far Post’.

This is the shortest of the pieces sitting at just over three minutes and it almost serves as the title tracks little brother as they share a similar pulsating digital drone and static with a now much more simplistic set of melodic sounds making up that of a single chord.

The track rises and falls through the frequencies like huge synthetic waves that release sprays of shimmering yet distorted chimes and chords as they come to a crest. They fall away and the next comes even more powerful than the last.

At the final peak it seems to overpower itself and it falls away slowly, as something of a huge mass would, leaving nothing behind it.

This EP is near perfect for the genre. Being as this kind of slow subtle movement in music is not widely loved or even known outside of time-lapse videos or surreal drug movies this EP will never get huge airplay or appeal to the masses yet it’s evident that Small Scale Collisions aren’t playing to that either way. They are creating these pieces for themselves and, more importantly, for the people that will hear it, appreciate it and, above all, love it.

Words: Alex Hynes

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