Hailing from all corners of Connecticut, Crag Mask has been bestowing their unique take of rock onto listeners for three years. Their gloomy sound tends to unfold into heavy hitting sections that groove and bend, yet still maintains a catchiness that acts as a thread through their non-traditionally structured tunes. A sophomore album is to be released by the band in 2019. Until then, listeners can linger on and pick apart their promising debut, “Loom”, for just a bit longer.
Reduction Plan's music comes from within solitude's frigid embrace. "I will
never get what I want," broods frontman Daniel Manning on self-released debut,
Paradise. The heavily reverberated breaths and ominous atmosphere that open
Reduction Plan's latest full-length album, Somewhere, evoke that same sense of
solitude, one that is almost palpable.
Pulling from 80s goth, 90s shoegaze and industrial, and the anti-folk tendencies
of acts like Grouper and Mount Eerie, Reduction Plan uses both noise and
space to illustrate the power of silence. A swell of synths, pulsing drum
machines, and haunting murmurs is the foundation upon which the project
draws its sound.
With Somewhere, Manning takes a leap forward in both songwriting and
production. Recorded and mixed entirely independently, the record’s 10 tracks
are more fleshed out than anything the project has released to date. A testament
to this is “On Your Own”, a re-recorded and re-worked version of a track that
initially appeared on Reduction Plan’s debut, Paradise. Side-A closer “Julia” is
driven by waves of synths that would feel right at home on a Disintegration cut,
pushing the song to a powerful climax. Meanwhile, opener “Without An End” is a
cacophonous goth-rock anthem built upon an intoxicating drum-machine
Somewhere is Manning’s third full-length under the Reduction Plan moniker,
following the Child of Light EP, which saw him branching out stylistically to
collaborate with fellow musicians. On the project’s first two full-lengths, 2015’s
Paradise and 2016’s Shade, Manning’s compositions were frigid, harsh, and
unrelenting. Here, the songs let the light in; blossoming into lush, melancholic
pieces that maintain the bite of the project’s roots.
The majority of the record was written shortly after Manning graduated from
college, and deals with all the feelings of displacement, discontent, and
dissatisfaction that followed. Somewhere represents a seemingly intangible
sense of comfort and belonging that Manning searches for throughout the
album’s brooding tracks.
Although a solo endeavor in concept, Manning is accompanied live by Luis
Durango, who breathes new energy into the songs on second-guitar and synth.
Together, the two have shared the stage with acts such as Xiu Xiu, Boyharsher,
Planning For Burial, Torres.