Listencorp review image of islands strings of time by project mycelium

Islands: The Strings of Time

Project Mycelium


Liam Murphy

May 6, 2020

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

Awakening begins the second half of Project Mycelium’s Islands series. A low rumbling shifting its way into the listeners sonic…

Awakening begins the second half of Project Mycelium’s Islands series. A low rumbling shifting its way into the listeners sonic periphery. Elegantly played guitar notes peel off into a lightly reverbed landscape. A serene mist sets atop everything as abrasive, textural guitar scales begin to be played. These scales are seared in a momentary burst of sunshine, gibing way to optimistic strikes of harmonics.

Islands reprises this raw and overly distorted guitar tone. Bright melodies emanate, notes begin to bend and screech like an early Modest Mouse cut as Project Mycelium bounces into a jovial tune. The instruments step out of tune freely, squirming in and out of dissonant chaos. The artist finds little pockets of tunes and rhythm, spending a moment repeating them before moving on swiftly. A multi-layering of guitars keeps the momentum of the track up, as differently toned instruments appear from out of the raw undergrowth. The listener is pushed with vigour into one riff after the other, before the track begins to settle into a hazy tune once again.

Mad Scientist makes use of the atonal attributes of the electric guitar before computerised sounds begin to seep out of the organic mix. The artist begins again, setting out on a drastically different path then before, beckoning the listener deeper into the cataclysmic rubble.

Sailing sends beautifully harmonising guitars firing all about the stereo field. Harnessing all of the scrapes and twangs of the electric guitars Islands: The Strings of Time continues to proudly flaunt a daring and homespun headiness. We are whisked from post-rock emotion to sharp indie-rock rhythms in a matter of seconds. However the energy slowly falls away midway through, as we turn a dark corner into a more absurd area where bending guitar notes greet us with strange and suspicious notes.

The chaotic weather of Storm seems to infiltrate our ears, as rumbling feedback and movement pierces the back of our head. More strange guitar sounds snake their way toward us, wavering slightly in the intensity of the sound. Whistling distortion gives way to a burst of guitar. Two binary notes, high on the guitars neck begin to cause distress and anxiety to the mix. Project Mycelium dragging his finger positions up the neck suddenly, causing the scales and half-chords to jerk up in pitch. This dissonance grows, each aspect of the instrumentation begins to scream out in anger at the listener.

Factory Floors finds screaming notes chanting in a slow and scary rhythm. Something in the mixing of the track, and the notes themselves pierces through the same way a band like Mogwai do in earlier, darker material. Digitised rubble squeaks and bleeps as guitar notes hack away at themselves.

The Killing furthers the sonic torment as the guitars continue to strike out with off-note tunes and heavily distorted fuzz. The sinister tinges in the first half have commandeered the sound of the album at this point. The sole purpose seems to be creating feelings of unease and dread. More sounds of hands jerking up the fretboard as the listener is pulled like a ragdoll. Until the aggression comes to settle slowly. The eerie feeling is still present, but illustrated through patient riffs of echoed strings. Project Mycelium confidently brings in electronic sound where it jars and takes the listener by surprise. The guitar elements of the track’s drag the album onto an organic pathway, only for the strange wavering of synthesised strings to derail it once again.

A harmonic melody rings out in Respawn, slowly losing its grip on the positive tune it plays as the strings become slack and detuned. We fall into a slower pace, as lower frequency notes and sparklingly organic guitar join in for support. The artist falls into these tunes fairly unpredictably. The listener learns to remain wary of the bipolar nature of the music, knowing it could turn sour at any point. But Respawn retains an unthreatening atmosphere to the end.

8-Bit Man begins sounding as if our bruised and battered car we’ve used to traverse the album is pulling into a driveway in the midst of an awe-inspiring sunset. This changes suddenly, a more upfront and aggressive tune twanging its way across the length of the track. Project Mycelium slowly throws this jaunty tune back into the realms of emotive expression with lower bassy notes guiding it to a more classic sequence. This is only for a short while, as dissonant and sporadic notes begin to fire out as if coming from a machine. And then, back again to a classic tonality. Bright, happy guitars give support to a repetitive descending melody. The last of Project Mycelium’s melodic noodlings comes to an end as thick, clean guitar tones lead us out, with wah-wah’ed riffs dancing alongside.

Islands: The Strings of Time produces some incredibly emotive passages, but its aim seems to be one of unease and discomfort, a duality that chimes with Grumpy Records callout for music borne from stress or unrestrainable joy. Project Mycelium guides us through the world, losing us in the undergrowth of dissonance at times, but providing us with the cushion of repetition and engaging musicianship to see us through.