Sep 2011 08

Craig Vear - Summerhouses
Craig Vear
Category: Ambient / Drone
Album: Summerhouses
Stars: 2.5
Blurb: Summerhouses is modern art in the form of sound, but not everyone will understand what Craig Vear has created.


Craig Vear is a British composer who uses drones, static, and creepy electronic sounds to make modern art. Unfortunately, like a sculpture made from eggshells and garden hoses, Summerhouses is not for everyone. Longwinded and often dull, only true drone lovers will appreciate the artistry.

Opening Summerhouses is “Cravasse Blue,” a drone and static composition that is the audio equivalent of a canvas covered in one solid prime color and splashed with a splotch of silver. At nine minutes and 35 seconds, it is the second longest track on the album, and about six minutes too long. Next up is “Jolene,” a clicking, vibrating, noise-filled piece that sounds a bit like the lead up to an alien invasion. It is tense and intense, and a little nerve-wracking. “Repulsion” is interesting. What could be static or rain subtly backs a drone that fades in and out. Then a touch of staccato fades in, giving the feeling that at any moment a monster will jump out of a nearby closet and eat the listener’s face. Or maybe that’s just one listener’s experience. One of the least interesting is the fourth track, “Intertidal Pool;” bubbling water, static, and the sound of a shifting microphone. But the most disappointing is “After the Sinking,” the longest (10 minutes and 31 seconds) and least diverse droning on the album. It begins promisingly, with an almost orchestral build up that goes and goes and goes… and then you realize it’s going to keep going and going, ad infinitum. Finally, the title track is a two minute album teaser that includes 20 seconds from each of the first six tracks. Honestly, it’s the only track you need to listen to. It gets straight to the heart and remains short enough to avoid boredom.

Craig Vear is good at his craft, like Jackson Pollock or Yves Klein. Unfortunately, like those great pioneers, Vear is also unlikely to be understood by the masses. His art is odd and kind of dull, but he does it well. The composition is well thought out and the sound engineering is flawless. Each piece inspires emotion, whether it is fear, annoyance, or boredom and if you prefer to study the brush strokes rather than the overall picture, Summerhouses is the one for you.
Track list:

  1. Cravasse Blue
  2. Jolene (After D. P.)
  3. Repulsion
  4. Intertidal Pool
  5. Ice Esk
  6. After the Sinking
  7. Summerhouses – Album Teaser

Craig Vear MySpace
Mille Plateaux / Cluster Website
Mille Plateaux / Cluster MySpace
Mille Plateaux / Cluster Facebook
Mille Plateaux / Cluster Twitter
Purchase at…
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Charity VanDeberg (CharityV)

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