Sigma Octantis – Dissipations CD Malignant Antibody / OPN 2014
In collaboration with the French label OPN, Malignant Records have used their sub-label ‘Malignant Antibody’ to issue the fourth album and apparently the final release from Sigma Octantis. Although having not heard of Sigma Octantis before, from the introduction provided by ‘Dissipations’ they deliver an interesting amalgam of stylistic elements cherry picked from a number of genres (including: animated dark ambient, 1990’s era tribal-industrial and post-rock), where these disparate elements are blended in such a way as to not sound derivative of any of the genres in particular. Noting also that the defunct cult Swedish project Morthound is used a reference point within the promo blurb, this is actually quite a spot on reference point, given a similar musicality, diversity and playfulness is demonstrated here (and particularly reference Morthound’s albums ‘Spindrift’ and ‘The Goddess Who Could Make the Ugly World Beautiful’).
Album opener ‘Vieil ocean, aux vagues de cristal’ starts proceedings with a typical dark ambient drone melody but it is not long before rousing tribal rhythms kick in over which a solo piano melody provides a dour, down tuned mood, yet the tone morphs again with the later introduction of a twanging guitar line providing a post-rock sensibility. On ‘Errance Definitive’ the tribal-industrial rhythms sound as if almost an outtake of Deutsch Nepal’s classic album ‘Deflagration of Hell’, but the later section soars off into territory all its own through the use of shimmering synths and quasi-orchestral textures (late track again morphing towards a post-rock tone). Likewise with its slightly middle eastern tinged melodies, ‘Des astres tranquilles’ encompasses a sonic atmosphere somewhat reminiscent of the most mellow and musical passages found on ISIS’s final album ‘Wavering Radiant’ (which is a complimentary comparison to make). The final track ‘Farewell’ is also an absolute album standout, being a moody melancholic track of swelling cinematic orchestral melodies and driving tribal industrial hand percussion. Throughout its course it drops away into quiet segments of post-rock tremolo guitars and rock kit drums before building to the final crescendo to rival the build ups of Mono or Explosions in the Sky and generating an absolutely stunning and sublime song in the process.
Eight tracks in all cover just short of an hours play time and although my personal listening habits extend to a wide range of music outside the main focus of noise receptor journal, Sigma Octantis are not a project which have ever cropped up on my radar before. Therefore recognition should be afforded to Malignant Records for issuing this album which is slightly off tangent the main bulk of their musical output, particularly as it is a great album which may have otherwise passed by unnoticed.