The Shortest Day
It begins with the monotonous beeping of an engaged telephone. It ends, one track and 30 minutes later, with pealing trumpet ekeing out a salutary motif....
'The Shortest Day' is a break from tradition for Sheffield group Bear, downing guitars and microphones and conventional song forms in favour of Casio keyboards and droning abstraction. Listening to this record can best be compared to looking at a Jackson Pollock abstract expressionist piece - you listen blankly, trying desperately not to concentrate on any singular element of its disparate litany of hums, thrums and squiggles, until, like a Magic Eye painting, your own personal response to the record materialises.
At times it resembles a new age record, calming, cleansing synth washes seemingly rising up from nowhere to envelop the listener. At other points it seems to fall in the post-rock or ambient fields; random figures and fragments floating into the ether, free of narrative purpose, removed from the day-to-day real world. But there are still clues to the world outside the musical experience, most obviously the ringing tone which ceases to irritate after the first few minutes.
An intriguing, singular record. Not quite enjoyable, but certainly recommended to the curious.
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