Dream into Dust – The Lathe of Heaven

An ambitious and surprising work. Dream into Dust, the project around Derek Rush, has in the past already delivered some releases which display great variety, ranging from industrial to dark folk to more experimental sounds. This had led to some fine songs, but also to some unbalanced offerings. On this new album the variety seems to have increased even further, but the album has nevertheless become rather stable and coherent. The biggest change: the songs often show a ‘pop’ attitute, with clear, accessible melodies and pleasing soft vocals and orchestration. But don’t worry, the avantgarde base has not disappeared, in fact the album is a nice combination of accessibility and experiment.

The title “The Lathe of Heaven” is taken from the (filmed) novel of Ursula K. Leguin and deals with comparable subject matter of dreams and reality. Derek Rush is again aided by some valuable musicians: Bryin Dall, with his typical strangely distorted guitar work, and Eddy Malave, a classically trained violin/viola player. Part of the instrumentation is recorded live, part is added later, processed or not. Added to the general framework are random ambient sounds, to make the sound even richer. And I must say, there happens a lot in the music, with many layers of sound on top of each other. Also the compositions sometimes take surprising turns. At times I have the feeling that they try to put a little too much ideas in one song.

I must say that I had to get used to this album, which sounded quite different than what I expected, but now it has come to live. It contains some very good compositions, and I’m fond of the orchestral sounds. A strong song is the delicate ‘How the roses burned’, with nice acoustic guitars and a great end, with fine strings and dynamic drumming. The folky ‘Sleep in dead time’ is also excellent, with some unexpected bombastic breaks. As the song evolves some harsh parts enter the song, which gets more complicated. For a few seconds I think I get lost in the song, which then continues if nothing has happened. There are also a few experimental, unmelodic songs in between, like ‘Black ice’, consisting of hevaily manipulated sounds and noises and spoken vocals. ‘Wrong side of the glass’ sounds like an over-the-top dramatic deathrock tune, and just when I begin to fear it reaches a brilliant instrumental finale, which reminds me of The Pixies for some reason.

A special, mature album of which the makers can be proud. It is hard to place it in one particular musical niche, which I regard as a compliment, though it may be dangerous saleswise.

artist: Dream into Dust
label: Chthonic Streams
details: 11 tracks (MYRK 013, 2003)