“I think I wrote all the songs from Carry Us All Away in about three months (except Stars Pt. 2, that song has been with me for years). I wrote the songs because I wanted to write an album. Because you know, you get to that point where you have to create something. It makes you a little weird if you don’t.” – Andy Othling on making the album.
The first time I heard Lowercase Noises was almost by accident. I had been into guitar-based drone for a long while, and had been looking on YouTube for different videos showcasing drone. Out of any of the videos I had seen, it was Lowercase Noises, Andy Othling’s ambient post-rock project, that had basically hit the nail on the head and kept me hooked. I subscribed to his channel immediately, and had found out about this upcoming album. I just had to get it. The day it came out, I downloaded it immediately and took a listen…
If you’ve ever listened to Brian Eno, you’d know that his coinage of the term “ambient music” has highly influenced all kinds of music. The influence here is no different. From the soft, airy vocals and ambient guitar pads on the first track “Shaking The Dust (Airfields)”, you can feel the sense of calm that Andy creates using his varied instrumentation and effects, including what sounds to be a glockenspiel or xylophone at the end of the track. However, it is at the end of the track where the ambience starts to recede and the post-rock starts to impinge. Segueing into the track, “Shaking The Dust (Skyscrapers)”, compressed drums play a slow yet dynamic rhythm in constrast to the ambient goodness occuring within the guitars. This is perhaps one of the greatest openings on an post-rock album I’ve heard since Sigur Ros’s opening songs on “Takk…”. However, the fun only starts here. The next piece, “Like A Firefly”, which includes two sections titled “Love” and “War”, feature more ambient guitars, electronic bass and beats, and also the compressed drums, creating a dynamic work that starts quietly and builds to an explosive climax, and breaks down to quietness again.
Also, I should make a note that you can hear a variety of genres on this album. The ambient country slide-guitar work in “Working And Paying And Living And Dying”, the contemporary rock grooves in “A Whole Garden”, and the folk banjo and cello melodies and lyrically Christian-themed vocals courtesy of Josh Gaines (also known as Abraham the Poor). However, there are many post-rock moments, especially in “The Gate Beautiful”, where vocal samples consisting of a radio production of “Les Miserables” are present, as well as there are some ambient moments, especially in the almost drone-like piece, “Broke Through The Ice”.
Overall, “Carry Us All Away” is one of the best albums of 2010. My hopes and anticipations for the album were exceeded phenomenally, which almost rarely happens in the music world. Andy has created a dense album full of post-rock and ambient goodness, while also incorporating other genres into the mix. It’s an album that creates an atmosphere of hope and happiness in these troubled times, and that alone is a good reason to get this album. Highly recommended listening.
Title: Carry Us All Away
Artist: Lowercase Noises
Self-released in 2010
Available at major online retailers, as well as a name-your-own-price option here at http://music.lowercasenoises.com/album/carry-us-all-away