Clay Rendering’s Waters Above the Firmament is a suite of textural-but-not-ambient, fuzzy-but-still-melodic pop. The record savors the dramatic trappings of its style with its juicily affected and byzantine song titles (“Myrrh is Rising,” guyz – and “firmament” means “the expanse of the heavens,” I had to look it up) and its incanting delivery – it makes you want to very deliberately apply eyeliner and gaze. This is not to say that it feels insincere, only that one can sense a palpable enjoyment in the costumed assumption of the performance.
“The Pest” and “Temple Walking” are booming, Skinny Puppy chain gang songs for the science-fiction assembly plant set. Mike Connelly’s vocals are stretched into white noise, sloganeering through endless loudspeakers along an endless riveted hall. “Myrrh” is a gentle piano ballad that interestingly transforms the string decay with electronics while Connelly whispers parseltongue. The title track, a heaving, respiratory instrumental, is “industrial” in the literal sense – the accordion’s foil-thin reeds, reverberating onto themselves, sound like resonance points ringing out in the motions of the most gradual factory in the world. It reminds me of David Byrne’s “Playing the Building,” if some vaguely cello-like synth accompanied the warehouse.
Grab the vinyl from Hospital Productions.