Stumbleine has been releasing music for quite some time now. EP's have surfed across the web since 2010 and the man behind this project, as far as I'm concerned, is nameless. Stumbleine is one third of Bristol ambient/dubstep artist Swarms. He's signed to the independent record label Monotreme, with the likes of 65daysofstatic and co. Spiderwebbed is Stumbleine's first album and I have the pleasure of listening to this delightful piece of music.
Right from the get go Stumbleine puts across his shoegaze/ambient and dubstep genre features. There's a mix between a heavily reverberated guitar, a chillwave-esque / Balam Acab-esque female cut up vocal and Clubroot beats. Opening track "Cherry Blossom" shows off the production quality of this album, and highlights the effects used by artists like the aforementioned Balam Acab. "If You" is slightly less exciting as Cherry Blossom. The synthesizer loop is strong and effective but it becomes a little repetitive and straightforward when you look at it as a composition. It's interesting, but not that memorable, and that's a problem with Spiderwebbed.
"Capulet" stands out instantly. It's one of the few electronic tracks I’ve heard all year that sounds both beautiful and eerie. Stumbleine gets the mix between beat and atmosphere just right and after the one minute mark passes, all heaven breaks loose. A gritty bass synthesizer parallels the piano riff and an elegant guitar segment kicks in. The female vocals are heavily effected, as expected and the end result is a three and a half minutes of pure beauty.
The shoegaze inside Stumbleine shows on the following track "The BeatMy Heart Skips (ft Coma)". The vocals take you into a dream land with a sound like 1980s Domino Records artist Cocteau Twins. Likewise, "Honeycomb" is a fantastic synth heavy track with shoegaze right at its heart. The soundscapes pick up as the track progresses and almost blinds the listener in to a thought process where you let the music do the viewing in your mind.
"Solar Flare" is lacking that memorable feature Capulet has. it's all well and good having a dream pop infused guitar riff and a lovely synthesizer sound, but when the vocals and structure fail to match / sound memorable, and then we have a problem on our hands. The following track does have that extra bit more, a cover of Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You". Although it doesn’t have the passion and the presence as the 90s nostalgic track, it has Stumbleine's edge on the beauty of it. The vocals are a little quite but that can be forgiven given the nature of the loud instruments at the tracks centre.
The final section to this album is pretty much a mixed bag between the good, the bad and the ugly; beginning with the previously released "Kaleidoscope". Stumbleine is bringing nothing new to the table with this track considering it's already been featured on one of his previous EP's. The track has heavy beats and dreary soundscapes but it ultimately falls short because of the fast paced nature, which doesn’t fit in with the rest of this album. "The Corner of Her Eye" brigs the listener back to a relaxing paradise. One look at the album cover will reveal this albums purpose, a sunset record for 2012s winter.
"Catherine Wheel" caps off the album with a magnificent downbeat track with a consistently good piano riff. The heavily effected vocals stand out here, opposed to the heavily effected high pitched vocals. It's fair to say the album ends on a high, but not an effective high. Spiderwebbed isn't for the average electronic / ambient listener. The dream pop / shoegaze side to it is brilliant, but I've heard this before in artists like Nyctalgia. The beats are present, as they are in his Bristol based project Swarms. The soundscapes are relaxing and full of energy, but I couldn’t listen to this music on a regular bases because it’s a little to repetitive and lacklustre for my liking.