Illuminoscillate – Uniform Wall CD Secrets of Giza 2013
The dark ambient genre is one particular music style that has expanded to such a point where it is simply impossible to hear everything which gets released year on year (…which in some ways is rather similar to the metal genre and its hundreds of sub-genres). Thus in this context the bigger known record labels are often viewed as the curators of the scene, making it then all the more difficult for more obscure acts (…and labels for that matter) to get noticed. Given Illuminoscillate are a relatively new Australian dark ambient styled project and Secrets of Giza are a new American label (…this being their second release), clearly both fall into the ‘obscure’ category. This however will hopefully change based on the quality of ‘Uniform Wall’.
Where Illuminoscillate particularly succeeds is through the presentation of an animated sound palate within a morphing dark ambient framework. A hazy enveloping miasma provides the overarching atmosphere, where the album’s abstract and slightly mechanical oscillating drones are also underpinned by deep bass rhythmic elements that build to cascading intensity during select segments. Illuminoscillate’s sound is also driven by the merging of the organic and synthetic, where it appears that field recording elements constitute a large portion of the base sonic input, which are then morphed and manipulated through a (modular?) synthesizer interface.
Two early album tracks ‘City Loop’, with its excellent low mechanized pulse, and the shimmering multi-layered drones of ‘Southern Obedience’, are both quite reminiscent of the molasses like drugged atmosphere of Hazard’s unsung classic album ‘Lech’ – yet when I posed this potential inspiration to Illuminoscillate member Matthew Casey he advised of no prior knowledge of ‘Lech’ (…just a coincidence then). Mid album track ‘Widow of Fatigue’ presents a more simplistic and subdued track which is built on a series of mechanized loops, while following track ‘Absent Teeth’ pursues deeper abstract drone territory. Arriving towards the end of the album ‘Late November’ provides a heavier sound, delivering a muted almost death industrial track due it its heavy bass pounding beat and animated electronics with a sharper tonal edge. This track bleeds into the concluding composition ‘Feeding Procedure’ which erodes into sparse abstract soundscape of low grinding bass and other layers with shimmering tonality, which build to a intense crescendo before ushering the album to its conclusion.
With a slick 6 panel digi-pack presentation, coupled with the strong and focused soundscapes on display, surely ‘Uniform Wall’ should gain some positive attention from wider dark ambient scene. Although project and label currently slot into the ‘obscure’ category, this is definitely worth taking a punt on.