review

fluid-radio

Absent Without Leave is the solo project of Greece-based experimental musician George Mastrokostas. Mastrokostas’s impressive output has seen his work released on Sound In Silence, Distant Noise, Unlabel and Symbolic Interaction, to name just a few. The artist has received favourable comparisons to Yellow6, Stars Of The Lid and Labradford.

‘neath The Tumbling stars opens with a title track which recalls bands such as Bedhead and their successor The New Year. A simple chord progression repeats at length without backing beat and this is joined by clean lead guitar. The artist’s decision to create an eleven minute track with such a repetitive refrain could have easily led to a strained listen but the patient ear will enjoy Mastrokostas’ excellent musicianship and unabating rhythm on a recording (the EP is mastered by 12k’s Taylor Deupree) which is both crystal clear and atmospheric.

Following number As The Leaves Fall From Trees steps away from the slowcore influences and toward a more unique melding of post-rock, ambient and elements of the artist’s own, to offer a melodic guitar piece. Mastrokostas uses simple melodies which are intricately arranged to form an airtight and harmony-rich framework. Saving the best until last, ‘neath The Tumbling Stars then closes with Calm Of The Sea, a piece which transcends its strong predecessors and produces another instrumental number, quite moving in its beauty.

‘neath The Tumbling Stars is an EP which promises much and happily delivers. From a good opening, Mastrokostas improves with each minute and when fully on form, he produces work of exceptional musicianship and rare quality.