Comprised of two distinctly different EPs, Spheres, and When I'm Dead, Put Me in a Plastic Bag and Throw Me in the Gutter, Josh Richardson's Book Ends is an intentionally dichotomous work, juxtaposing contemplative, soothing ambience with harshly distorted, undulating doom drones.
The former, Spheres (inspired by the work of German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk), is a proper ambient album that trades in soft, carefully swelling tones that shift chords at a glacial pace while liquid trickles of manipulated audio and sparsely deployed chimes add a little flare to the gauzy blanket of sound at the core of the EP's three movements. It's a gorgeous, soothing work that Brian Eno fans should find much to love about.
By stark contrast, When I'm Dead is a snarling beast bristling with thorny shards of dissonant distorted guitar and throbbing industrial synth pulses. The grinding noise textures and wailing guitar moans are deeply unsettling and would be perfectly suited to soundtrack some sort of existentialist art horror film. Unless you're a Merzbow fan, it's not casual listening material, but it certainly is effective at evoking a sense of looming, fraying dread.
Depending on your tastes, one EP is likely to get far more play than the other but in any case, Josh Richardson's Book Ends is a sound journey well worth taking. (Mudtown)