1. Aperture of the Internal Surface 31:31
2. Manifested By the Occurrence 14:13
Pholde is the dark ambient project of sound artist Alan Bloor who is also known for his extreme noise music project called Knurl.
Bloor, originally from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, was involved in several bands in the early 80s, including a Hardcore punk band called Binge of Violence. After the band's breakup, he pursued a career as a solo musician, studying jazz bass, as well as classical and flamenco guitar.
In the late '80s he began performing noise backgrounds at poetry readings in which he experimented with his bass guitar by placing metal objects on the strings to produce the sounds.
Since that time, Bloor has delved heavily into experimentation with found objects as sound sources. He has also supplied musical scores for performers Andrew Hammerson (ex DV-8) from the U.K. and Jake Brown, Montreal.
Bloor has performed at festivals with Jim O'Rourke, Thurston Moore and Alan Licht, and has toured the eastern United States and Japan.
While Knurl unleashes harsh noise performances and side-project Pyrox creates intense electronic drones, Pholde creates dark ambient soundscapes by the bowing and scraping of self-created metal sound-sculptures with hand files, smooth and threaded metal rods, angle iron and blocks of steel to produce atmospheric, haunting soundscapes.
Alan Bloor's music was released on many labels worldwide, including Alien8 Recordings, Gears of Sand, Mystery Sea, RRRecords, Taâlem and Troniks.
As usually happened with all previous Pholde's works, the two pieces on "Aperture of the Internal Surface" were produced and recorded by Alan in single sessions without any overdub, using only his sound-sculptures as source material aided by reverb and some equalization.
Clocking at over thirty minutes, the title track is
a marvellous example of Pholde's trademark ambiences and it can be ideally divided in five movements: in each of them a wall of sound is built and becomes quite loud at times, then the crescendo stop and music turns quiet and sparse before building up tension and explode again in a spellbinding stainless steel symphony.
Bloor's passion for hermetic titles is renewed in "Manifested By the Occurrence", the second and conclusive track on the album. Once again, this is metal reverberation at its best where rich and harmonic drones resonates in a powerful manifestation of tonal abstractions, clanging collisions and morphing condensations.
"One thing that I didn't know about Alan Bloor is that - besides various projects dealing with noise and punk - he also has a past as a jazz bassist and classical/flamenco guitarist. Thinking about this while listening to his thunderous enigmas for bowed and scraped metal sculptures, one can't help but feel a smidgen of irony, as there is nothing more distant from rasgueado and funky slapping than the superimposing roars of Pholde's records, all baptized with inscrutable titles, all sounding impressively powerful - and, on top of everything, all looking down over the average level of that musical area, which is defined "dark ambient" more for convention than real belonging."
Touching Extremes [more]
"There are not too many musicians out there who can make metal sing as sweetly as Alan Bloor. As a tool for industrial collages, steel has usually been a synonym for strength, razorsharp edges and brute stupor, but in the world of his Pholde project, it is the basis for wonderful dreams. "Aperture of the Internal Surface" is a typical release in that sense – and yet it also demonstrates how open and flexible Bloor’s concept is... Pholde takes his audience on a ride through complexes of timbres, filled with massive bass resonance fields and fine, glassy harmonics. Sustained rumblings mix with tingling and rattling noises, the emissions of a pile of shards trickle through gong-like knocks.... In many occasions, the music unfolds through rhythmic repetitions and variations, but on just as many others, it follows its own set of rules. The buildup of the tracks is certainly very plastic and marked by contrasted parts and subtle segues..."
"The term Ambient Noise is the closest label to put on the Pholde project, though do not expect any sort of tranquillity... This latest album from Pholde titled "Aperture of the Internal Surface" contains two long pieces of work. The two pieces circulate in spheres of ambience; spheres, that operate in everything from concrete metal sounds to more abstract textures. The source material for these pieces appears carefully selected and consciously restricted, the same effects turning up again and again, but in different contexts and with varying functionalities. Considered as a musical work, the album is extremely fascinating with its many layers of sounds resulting in some immense listening experiences, but the fact that Mr. Bloor manage to extract so many atmospheres and expressions from the concrete source makes the album even more fascinating..."
Vital Weekly [more]
"Pholde is Canada's Alan Bloor, who records harsher sounds as Knurl. Bloor is a trained musician, with experience in jazz bass and classical guitar. For Pholde, though, he drops tonality in favor of metallic timbres - metal the substance, not the genre. Imagine sticking your head inside a gigantic, 50 meter-wide cymbal as giants and dwarves run their hands around its surfaces, extracting every sound it can produce. One gets the sensation of falling into a bottomless foundry. At two long tracks (31:31 and 14:13), "Aperture of the Internal Surface" forces reorientation of listening modes. One stops listening for songs and starts listening to sound. The waveforms reveal that the tracks have contours, though they're not obvious in such dilated timeframes. The title track is five slow crescendos; "Manifested by the Occurrence" is two long sections. Bloor recorded these tracks as single takes sans overdubs. It's a tribute to his skill with sound manipulation that I can listen to essentially 45 minutes of metallic cymbal sounds and enjoy every moment."
Invisible Oranges [more]
"...l'abilità di Bloor nel creare soundscapes, peraltro senza overdubs, con strumenti metallici da lui inventati è fuori dalla norma. La materia impiegata, generante suoni ora rugginosi ora taglienti e a lungo andare ipnoticamente perforanti, tra riverberi e drones, ammanta di un alone subdolamente sinistro le due ampie, torve, composizioni raccolte nell'album, grandemente gratificanti per la loro anima profondamente industrial al di là di una possibile catalogazione dark-ambient, con l'eccellente title-track pervasa da esoterici aromi che supera la mezz'ora, sia pur spartita in cinque armonici movimenti."
Blow Up [more]
"...The album's self-titled opening track is over thirty one minutes long. Waves of sound are built up, almost to a crescendo at times, and then slowly calm themselves down. The sound is metallic, with one layer of sound very sharp as the background is more deep and round.... The second track on the album, "Manifested By the Occurrence", is short by comparison to the first... The first thing I thought of when I listened to this piece was an old, run down factory that had suddenly come alive, with the clangs, scrapes, and ghostly screams of ancient metallic limbs reverberating within the walls of the building. This entire album conveys a sense of power... Bloor is a metallic maestro, and this album is a fantastic example of his work."
Lunar Hypnosis [more]