House of Cards

by Abandon



Abandon. Ce projet post-rock/ambient/slow-core a débuté en 2005 à l’iniative d’Umair Chaudhry (ex Xmas Lights, actuellement dans les Monday Morning Sun). Abandon se construit de couches denses de guitares, qui s’étirent et brillent comme des étoiles filantes sur un paysage désolé et prennent vie sur des textes personnels d’Umair. Le premier EP «Tunnels» composé de 4 titres a été remixé et remasterisé. C’est un EP de quatre morceaux longs mélangeant des textures denses de guitares, une ambiance strident, des sections rythmiques dures et des paroles pleines de sens.

Abandon began as a studio project of Umair Chaudhry in 2005, later joined by Simon Tierney and Christopher Marshall. 
The first release "Tunnels" originally featured 5 songs, but was re-released and re-mastered later as a 4 track EP. The second 4 track EP "House of Cards" featured longer, more progressive songs with ambient passages. For the third release "Monsters" the Band took on a more "organic" direction, with more dynamic drums and guitar work. The release also featured 5 remixes by Fragment, Chuter, Monday Morning Sun and Fault Finders. Simon Tierney and Christopher Marshall joined Umair in writing and recording the full length self titled album released in 2013 on Blindsight Records. Following on in the tradition of "Monsters", the album featured 8 new songs with a more organic "live sound". The band started to play live as a three-piece from 2011 in the UK and are currently writing and recording new material for release in 2014.

Fans of Oxford’s music scene really ought to know Umair Chaudhry’s name – as a member of the now sadly defunct ambient/electronic metal shape-shifters Xmas Lights, and as an all-round musical whizz Umair has been involved with some of the more out-there musical releases in Oxford in the past decade. However, under his Abandon moniker Umair has put out some of his most calm, reflective, slow-core music. ‘Monsters’, the third release from Abandon on Umair’s Blindight Records, feels like a more tightly-controlled and measured extension of 2010′s excellent ‘House of Cards’ EP.
Opening track ‘Monsters’ kicks the EP off as it means to go on, sounding like a cross between Jesu, A Perfect Circle, Radiohead and the more ambient side of Deftones. To say it ‘kicks the EP off’ is a little misleading though – the pace is slow, with a beat that seems to be on the back foot to the tricky, cyclical guitar pattern that propels the song along. ‘Land of No Horizon’ takes the same formula and adds more glacial, shimmering layers of guitar to complement Umair’s doubtful, conflicted lyrics. Sonically both tracks also owe a debt to the likes of the New Order, Cocteau Twins and, by extension, Adore-era Smashing Pumpkins.
The remaining tracks are all remixes, something of a growing trend on Oxford releases of late. But whereas the plethora of ill-conceived or lacklustre remixes that have been cropping up lately could call the art of the remix into question, the offerings here attempt to paint the original songs in a new light rather than making them sound like they’re being played 20,000 leagues under the sea. Chuter’s remix of title-track ‘Monsters’ is a bombastic overhaul that gives the track a (dare I say it) cheery twist while ‘Faith We Once Held (Fragment remix)’ is an industrial re-imagining of ‘Land of No Horizon’ that adds harsh distorted guitars and stuttering beats, to punch the emotional content of the original beyond doubt. Contrastingly, Monday Morning Sun give ‘Land of No Horizon’ a sleek and hypnotic hip-hop make-over that works equally well.
Tight songwriting and tasteful, restrained instrumentation aside, it’s Umair’s voice that is the most interesting instrument on display here. A kind of mournful mumble, his voice is omnipresent on these songs, subtly emoting and adding a loftiness to the lighter moments and acting as a concrete block to weigh down the darker ones. The overall effect is trance-like, gently lulling us into a soft sleep, a cold, numb sleep.
‘Monsters’ is no walk in the park; from beginning to end the music occupies a depressive space and the lyrics linger on themes of doubt, despair, nightmares and loss. But this is far less depressing than anything ‘uplifting’ you’re likely to hear on Radio 1 or X-Factor. To put it another way, ‘Monsters’ is a beautifully elegant EP that would probably make Simon Cowell want to kill himself. Another gem from Mr. Chaudhry, then.
This post-rock/ambient/slow-core project was started in 2005 by Umair Chaudhry (ex Xmas Lights, currently in Monday Morning Sun). Dense layers of guitars sprawl and sparkle like dying stars over a bare and shifting landscape, worded by the personal lyrics of Umair. The first EP "Tunnels" featured 4 songs and has been remixed and remastered. To follow is a long-running 4 track EP comprising dense textures of guitars, shrilling ambience, stark rhythm sections and emotive lyrics.


released March 14, 2014

Cower 14:29
Clapping Hands 08:04
Buried 09:07
Washed Ashore 20:50



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Ex GGO (Go Get Organized Records), and AGONY (Agony & Ecstasy Records).

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