Mere – Mere
By: Tim Clarke
The Doors ‘The End’ has played a pivotal role in my musical upbringing. It ushered in my appreciation of atmosphere, tension and catharsis in rock music. One school day when I was 15, my maths teacher, Mr Rutter, let us watch Apocalypse Now in class, with its infamous bull sacrifice set to ‘The End’. When I listen to Mere, I get the same feeling of dread. It’s sensuous, serpentine, smoky, and sometimes scary. It creates a space and explores it ceaselessly, like a carnivore sniffing out carrion. Once it starts, it rolls and rolls in waves – at times the waves feel like they’re in the distance, to be observed in awe; at other times, the waves are upon you and you’re tossed about mercilessly. It’s a thrilling, enveloping ride.
In some ways it makes a lot of contemporary music referred to as ‘post-rock’ seem shallow and timid in comparison. And what’s more impressive is that this music was improvised by just three men: Gareth Davis on bass clarinet, Thomas Cruijsen on guitar, and Leo Fabriek on drums. Each of the three long pieces feels organic, the three instruments blending beautifully as they ebb and flow in unison. Davis’s clarinet growls murkily among Fabriek’s tom-toms, or shrieks like a wounded animal once the music intensifies. Cruijsen’s guitar work is restrained and never showy, droning with atmosphere or bristling with bright, metallic arpeggios. Fabriek rarely plays what could be discernible as a groove; his playing is more exploratory, but without losing a vital sense of cohesion and momentum. These guys know what they’re doing.
This is another fascinating and engaging release from Gizeh. Let’s hope there’s another album coming from Mere.