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act 223 · lowness · undertow · cd

tracklist:
01. bridges
02. rains
03. big girl don't
04. transmissional
05. adrift
06. out of into
07. sliver of light
08. go to the water
09. it got cold
10. undertow
11. 100,000

lowness is a one man project of seattle's scott sturgis, a musician active since the mid-nineties with projects like converter, dbs, notime and pain station. although lowness exists since the end of 2005, sturgis took the time needed to make the first lowness release 'undertow'.

inspired by artists as disparate as chrome, neu!, pink floyd, harmonia, black widow, subarachnoid space, psychic ills, amon düül II and indian jewelry, this album can be described as an ambient industrial psychedelic hybrid. driving r-box beats, swirling synth dots, mighty, pulsing subbasses and slicing guitar drones result in dark, hypnotic rhythmic soundscapes with a nightmarish and in places exotic feel. detailed post-rock instrumentation, subtle electronic textures and often tribalistic grooves melt into one-of-a-kind compositions created with strings and keys.

lowness' direction reflects an original take on familiar genre themes, but pushes way beyond specific genre trappings by tossing aside the cliches and commonality to focus on the raw emotion involved in creating music. devastating and chilling at the same time, 'undertow' is an album recommended for intense listening in the nighttime, just before dawn....

discography 04.2k10:
undertow. cd. ant-zen act223

lowness official webpage:
www.myspace.com/lowness

reviews:

a review in russian language can be found on the machinist's website:
www.machinistmusic.net

vital weekly
next album from the ant-zen camp is also a very interesting gem. again we are dealing with something that more likely belongs to electronic melody than to industrial aggression. the interesting thing is that the brain behind the lowness-project is the alias behind one of ant-zen's aces of the industrial/power noise-scene, converter. after a long silence, us-composer scott sturgis has risen and takes the listener into a more guitar-based sound world, that draws attentions to krautrock-legends such as neu! and amon düül ii. and generally the music is both trippy and hypnotic thanks to its psychedelic approach. (nm)

gothtronic
lowness is a new project, you might not have heard from it before. however, likely you know of the person behind it, scott sturgis. that's right, the mastermind behind converter! while this project exists since 2005, it took some time to make a proper release with it. with converter he made three albums (not counting countless compilation appearances, ep's and expansion packs), the holy trinity of ant-zen noise. it seems that for now mr. sturgis is done with that project, and he also wanted to move on. expectations run high, very high of course! the 'undertow' is now, will it be any good? with lowness, sturgis wants to move more to the experimental ambient side of industrial with incorporating tribal and post-rock elements. the last converter album 'exit ritual' already hinted at a more subtle, but also darker side of sturgis. the opening track 'bridges' even sounds like a logical continuation from 'exit ritual'. gritty industrial sounds are combined with slow and deep beats and gradually built up to a more intense and immersive atmosphere. 'rains' makes use of distorted guitars and tribal percussion. 'big girl's don't' is a more experimental song with schizophrenic rhythmic patterns. 'transmissional' starts with gritty industrial sweeps and then transforms into striking middle-eastern atmospheres. a very interesting song with a thick atmosphere. 'adrift' is a very convincing post-rock oriented song. the title track 'undertow' has a very nice chill-out trip-hop approach to it. since the album is rather diverse, i will not spoil it all and tell you what all songs are about. it's a good thing to discover it for yourself. with 'undertow' sturgis creates a perfect continuation of where 'exit ritual' left off, but also fills it with lots of more different sounds and influences. it has a very tribal and middle-eastern atmosphere to it throughout the album, which is very interesting and works very well. it's good to see a musician taking on other sounds and not sticking only with the tried and true formula. people who will be expecting the next hard bang from sturgis will come out surprised. people who admired the direction he went with 'exit ritual' will really appreciate this album. 'undertow' is an excellent album with lots of surprises. also people into the ritual and tribal side of industrial from projects like this morn' omina and empusae will eat this up! (fabian)

enochian apocalypse
scott sturgis is back. for those of you who like the works of converter and pain station etc this probably isn't what you were expecting however. stepping into realms of the psychedelic and delving into more ambient textures and beats you will get more of a feel for what lowness is all about; its blatantly evident on track one 'bridges' where everything builds upon itself, layering in an almost post-rock fashion; its trippy and out there, dreamlike and to put it bluntly, pretty damn good. things almost take a turn for the tribal (almost) on 'rains' with heavy, thick sopping wet bass lines that lay the concrete for far away guitar riffs. there are a hell of a lot of influences on here...in fact a lot of it reminds me of pink floyd in a fashion when they are at their most spaced out; its very tranced out and perfect early hours music. a lot of the build in this album reminds me somewhat of godspeed you black emperor, but only in the way its composed as there are unfortunately a distinct lack of hooks and as much as i appreciate the work going on here and the general skill and craftsmanship i did tend to drift off and find myself being distracted by other things. all in all an interesting affair with a lot of thought put into composition but not an album in its entirety i can take all at once as boredom did seep in. best listened to at in separate stages so that scots musicianship can be fully appreciated. (tony young)

der medienkonverter
hat sich in letzter zeit schon mal jemand gefragt, was scott sturgis eigentlich so treibt? der hat nicht etwa am nächsten converter-album geschraubt, sondern ein neues projekt ins leben gerufen. lowness heißt es und entfernt zwar nicht von der elektronischen musik, unterscheidet sich aber erheblich von converter oder anderen sturgis-projekten wie pain station. lowness verbindet auf seinem debütalbum "undertow" ambient, industrial, tribal und post/psychedelic rock! klingt auf den ersten blick unfassbar, ist aber wahr und obendrein auch noch richtig gut. scott sturgis hat sich für sein neues projekt von einer reihe namhafter bands inspirieren lassen, wie etwa amon düül ii oder black widow. daraus resultiert auch die in jedem song zum zug kommende gitarre, die meist schön psychedelisch hallt. "adrift" ist beispielsweise solch ein schwergewicht, das mit desperater grundstimmung sehr schön melancholisch vor sich hin marschiert. anders ist da "transmissional". mit tribal percussion frisch aus dem urwald grooved der song regelrecht. natürlich darf auch hier zum schluss die gitarre nicht fehlen. achtung, der song endet abrupt, gerade wenn man sich so richtig schön darauf eingestimmt hat. in "silver of light" darf die gitarre auch mal verhalten kreischen und jaulen, während dazu die drums im zeremoniellen rhythmus hypnotisch vor sich hin trommeln. hört man sich den song "undertow" an, der nun wirklich wie von einer psychedelic-kapelle klingt, könnte man meinen, scott sturgis hat sich komplett vom industrial abgewendet. dass dem nicht so ist, merkt man aber auf dem gesamten album, auch wenn die industrial-einflüsse teilweise extrem stark zurück gefahren sind. mit dem opener "bridges" hat uns scott sturgis extra eine überleitung von converter zu lowness gebastelt, die vom letzten converter-album "exit ritual" zu "undertow" verweist. schon der titel des letzten converter-outputs hat auf einen richtungswechsel hingedeutet. es ist aber nicht anzunehmen, dass converter nun ganz in der versenkung verschwindet. zumindest ließ scott sturgis noch nichts derartiges verlauten. wollen wir hoffen, dass dem auch so ist. mit lowness hat sich der musiker aus seattle auf jeden fall eine sehr extravagante nische ausgesucht. "undertow" ist ein album für anhänger besagter musikrichtungen, wobei gerade post rock und tribal/ritual ausgiebig bedient werden. scott sturgis verblüfft mit seinem neuen projekt, begeistert aber dafür schwer! (veit)

connexion bizarre
if ever, in the annals of electronic music, there was a more apt name for an album, i have yet to find it. "undertow", the most recent release by seattle's one-man-electronic-army, scott sturgis, is a wonderful example of deep, seething discontent lurking beneath a veneer of electronic atmospheres that is just waiting to drag the unwary listener to previously unplumbed depths of the tortured human psyche. although sturgis is best-known in electronic circles for his industrial project, converter, lowness displays a refinement to his technique that often wasn't evident in his dancefloor-destroying, beat-driven prior forays. lowness is characterised by profound subtlety - illustrated by meticulous texturing, intelligent structure, patient sequencing and powerfully moving emotional atmospheric work. ambient music has evolved, it seems, under the care of scott sturgis. "undertow" appears set to redefine the ambient genre in much the same way that coverter's "blast furnace" album broke boundaries in rhythmic noise. the greatest difficulty i encountered in reviewing this release is this: identifying a highlight. whether listening to the album as presented, shuffled or in a playlist alongside artists like oxyd, fractional or bipol (punch inc's progressive side project - it seems even the harshest industrial artists need a softer side)... this hybrid of industrial and droning martial ambient is a bizarre, intense and often psychedelic listening experience. definitely not for the faint-hearted... it is a pleasant rarity to encounter such a considered, mature approach to themes that are usually dealt with in an adolescent, confrontational (read: distorted vocals + industrial beats + catchy lead synth riffs) manner; the darker side of electronic music receives, in the form of "undertow", a much-needed shot in the arm. (david van der merwe)

black
ganze 5 jahre sind seit der letzten veröffentlichung von converter verstrichen und scheinbar hat scott sturgis (gegenüber vielen anderen) in dieser zeit realisiert, in welche sackgasse sich der rhythm noise tech-industrial inzwischen manövriert hat. folgerichtig legte er sein projekt converter auf eis und startet nun mit lowness auf zu neuen ufern. der neustart könnte auch kaum radikaler ausfallen, denn statt der gewohnt doomigen distorted beats und verzerrten rhythmen gibt es auf "undertow" massive psychedelic- und krautrock-einflüsse zu verzeichnen. diese vermengt scott sturgis mit gitarren-drones, dunklen electronic-sounds und polyrhythmischen tribal-drums zu einen metallisch glänzenden malstrom, der atmosphärisch dicht wie treibend ist und trotzdem noch platz für hypnotisierende melodien lässt. bei intensiven hören können die 11 tracks bzw. 65 minuten auch zur völligen trance führen. ich bin regelrecht begeistert über diesen gelungenen und vor allem auch mutiger schritt, zu dem nicht viele aus dem genre in der lage wären. wer also lust auf was frisches neues hat, das am ende sogar auf einer weltweit einflussreichen musikströmung basiert, die aus deutschen landen stammt - mit "undertow" würdet man nicht die schlechteste wahl treffen. tanzen müsst ihr cybers aber wo anders... (m.fiebag)

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