I.Corax – The Cadaver Pulse I: Sealed in a Radiant Larval Maelstrom CD Aural Hypnox, 2014
I.Corax – The Cadaver Pulse II: Mothelix Liquescent CD Aural Hypnox 2014
With I.Corax having been inducted into the Aural Hypnox fold via 2013’s ‘Cella Phantasma’ album, the label is now taking the opportunity to reissue their first two albums (via the Stellar Mansion series). With both albums in their original form being released in 2003, for this reissue the packaging has been updated and redesigned in line with the established Aural Hypnox aesthetic, featuring stunningly designed card fold out covers and a range of printed card inserts. Likewise noting the ‘I’ and ‘II’ title designation; effectively these two separate albums can be considered as companion halves.
Whereas the sound of many of the Aural Hypnox’s roster tend to be rooted in organic instrumentation, I.Corax’s sound differs slightly as their music sounds to be the result of sonic studio processing. Likewise with the use of analogue synthesizers and samplers, in addition to sound sources of more organic origin (such as field recordings, ritual instrumentation), the heavily processed yet highly detailed tone brings to mind the sound of label mate Zoat Aon. But rather than being a loose comparison, this impression is specifically explained by the fact that sole Zoat Aon member Jaako Vanhala is also one half of I.Corax. Stylistically both albums follow a similar template by featuring a series of tracks which interlink into a greater whole, thus given the transitions from one track to the next effectively go unnoticed, this allows the albums’ to sprawl out and gradually unfurl. This interlinking structure also reflective of the fact that there are no individual track titles, rather just a series of ‘states’ (differentiated only with individual roman numerals).
On ‘The Cadaver Pulse I: Sealed in a Radiant Larval Maelstrom’ its characteristic feature is being a darkly brooding and intensely enveloping recording. The multidimensional sound is in part imbedded in a drone framework, but at the same time also highly animated, where the swirling sonic textural mass is extremely dense in its multi-layered approach. This works particularly well when the ‘ghosts’ of original sound sources (organic instrumentation, field recordings etc.) can be subtly detected within the mix. At the album’s core there is an intense grinding momentum, and although abstract there is a real sense of movement and animation, but equally controlled to stop short of being chaotic. Occasional fragments of ritualised chimes and shrill atonal woodwind type instruments feature, whilst alternate segments use looped sound elements (metallic sounds, scraping textures etc.) to provide a semblance of vague rhythmic structure.
As a counterpoint to the heavy molasses like tone of ‘Part I’, ‘The Cadaver Pulse II: Mothelix Liquescent’ is moderately lighter in atmosphere and offers some respite with its shimmering more ambiental form of sonic expression. Here wavering drones and bending synth chords are mixed with processed natural environment field recordings and sporadic Asiatic chimes. Likewise a swelling ebb and flow style characterise proceedings here, where the hallucinogenic swirling tone and warm synth reverberations generates an overarching atmosphere somewhere between ritual ambient and abstract 70’s moog space synth experimentation.
With its focused roster of projects and generally infrequent release schedule Aural Hypnox has maintained an exceptionally high standard of release, where I.Corax is a project perfectly suits the label’s sound and aesthetic. With the issue of these two companion albums they represent sonically detailed and animated recordings which transcend being mere background music and warrant a detailed and engaged attention.