Album Review: “Antecedent Conditions” by Threethings (on Rural Colours)

Guitarist Ben Worth is a member of the post rock outfit Kontakte, a band with an impressive cinematic range that runs from a distortion-heavy wall of sound to delicate electronica. Later this summer, however, Ben will be releasing a very ambient-oriented solo effort under the moniker Threethings which will be available as a limited edition CD issued by netlabel Rural Colours.

The album, called “Antecedant Conditions”, consists of six sumptuously textured tracks of ambient acoustic and electric guitar run through a variety of effects pedals woven into a complex fabric of loops and melodies with occasional field recordings and piano. The press material on the album explains that “Ben strived to find something beautiful in the imperfect and the accidental, the loops contain incidental sounds purposefully left in to maintain the atmosphere of the recording space.”

And “something beautiful” is exactly what Ben has created here. The music is subtly melodic and feels both warm and organic thanks to well placed acoustic guitar and piano keys. Each track unfolds with a geometric randomness in a mesmerizing progression of constantly changing patterns. It is something like the musical equivalent of laying on one’s back in a grassy field whilst daydreaming and watching the sunlight dance through the branches and leaves of a tree.

This is an album that thoroughly rewards repeated listening. You can return to it over and over and always hear a little something new, and you should find the glacial pace, rich textures, and wistful tone very relaxing. While there is an overall consistency of mood and tone, each track has it’s own slightly different character. Whether or not this is by design, it seems the oddly numbered tracks (‘Arc’, ‘Cloud Coda’, and ‘Light Stops’) are a little more dense and have more crackle and buzz to them. The evenly numbered tracks (‘Asphalt’, ‘Cloud Cover’, and ‘Tailwater’) feel a little more airy and pastoral. ‘Tailwater’ in particular has a lovely melancholy vein running through it which is enhanced by the introduction of piano into the proceedings and is an excellent way to close out the album.

It is impressive to see such a nuanced and patient recording from an artist who can also generate stadium worthy post rock anthems. Antecedent Conditions is a beautiful album and we can only hope this is a musical direction that Ben will continue to nurture and develop. “Antecedent Conditions” is highly recommended.

For news and information on the album release, go to http://store.hibernate-recs.co.uk/product/threethings-antecedent-conditions

The cover art is extract from the painting Locust Limb by Toronto based artist Jessica Rode / http://www.jessicarode.com

To sample some of the music, listen here to track number 4, ‘Cloud Cover’:

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