Review: Dumbsaint – Panorama, in ten pieces.
“‘Panorama, in ten pieces.’ is a suburban horror that tells the story of a residential street in darkness. Populated by a revolving ensemble of dysfunctional lovers, loners and shut-ins, the film peers in at the strange relationships and domestic rituals that go on behind the closed doors of one neighbourhood at night.“
Panorama, in ten pieces. is an outstanding album from Sydney band Dumbsaint. Clocking in at just under one hour, this collection of progressive instrumental metal is also accompanied by a surrealistic feature-length film which was recorded alongside the album. Intended to be snychronised with the music, the film component was also conceived, filmed and edited by the now four-piece band (the trio added a guitarist for live shows). An ambitious and undoubtedly arduous task, taking into account the complexity and depth of creating the music alone, becomes even more onerous when one considers that the majority of the work was self-funded.
While the album was released on the 7th of August, the entirety of the accompanying film does not release until later in the year. In the mean time, to tide you over Dumbsaint have unveiled two of the ten clips. Since I
didn’t know there was going to be a film component made a conscious decision to listen to the album prior to watching any of the short films, I have had ample time over the past couple of months to absorb the music on its own merits.
There have been a multitude of incredible instrumental releases so far in 2015, so much so, that I have all but given up trying to keep on top of them all. Tempel (TovH interview) birthed a stellar second album of blackened doom, the hypnotic Shakhtyor dropped a bleak meteor, Toundra gave us their potent fourth offering, Sunset In The 12th House created a stunning mosaic and, with Panorama, in ten pieces. Dumbsaint have dished up a collection both dark and elegant.
Ever had the experience of seeing a beautiful stranger walk past and you happen catch each other’s glance? Having that mutual moment where your eyes meet, looking, assessing, not with purpose or intent, the moment dissipating as quickly as it arose? During a quiet moment, you later find yourself wondering about their life, letting your thoughts wander through the possibilities. For me, this album was the dark stranger. One play-through allured my mind. I needed to delve deeper. While the music is completely instrumental, it is most definitely conducive to keeping your thoughts ticking over. Time-changes, alternation between heavy rhythms and quieter reflective passages keep the current shifting and dynamics vibrant. The production is crisp and allows light to penetrate through its oft-times dense layering, suiting the style of the album perfectly. The bass thuds through the heavy riffs and the use of guitar effects is deftly blended into the overall organic sound of the composition.
Now that there are two of the short films available for you to watch, I’ll embed both the bandcamp album and the two videos, so it’s up to you to choose your path. Let me just say though, that after viewing the two available short films, I’m even more perplexed. I’m looking forward to later in the year when the full cinematic scope (which involved 25 actors being filmed across 6 months) is revealed. ‘Cold Call’ was the first taste I got, and remains one of my favourite cuts from the album, while the second video is for the track ‘Communion’ and has a more resolved finale than the first.