Jarl / Envenomist – Tunguska Event CD
For this album the Swedish Jarl (aka Erik Jarl of IRM) has teamed up with Envenomist; an American project helmed by David Reed whom I incidentally have not come across before. Thematically this album refers to the ‘Tunguska Event’ which occurred in Siberia in 1908, where there was a massive unexplained explosion (estimates ranged from 3 to 30 megatons) caused possibly by an asteroid or comet exploding in the upper atmosphere, whilst other theories have included: an explosion of underground gas; a crashed UFO; or black hole passing through the earth. So although this event and potential explanations make perfect thematic fodder for this type of release, rather than the music taking a literal interpretation of the theme; sonically the album engenders a ‘mysterious’ and ‘covert scientific research’ type of tonal aesthetic.
5 tracks spanning 43 minutes makes up the album and with the title of each track being relegated to being referenced as Part I to V, is it is a partial acknowledgement that each part covers a tonally similar sound by playing out variations on the clinically edged and animated dark ambient sound. Here a tensile sonic aesthetic prevails; one where mid-ranged tonal shards of sound and surgical pulses swirl and entwine, but also never reaching harsh noise oriented realms. Being multi-layered in construction, the tracks are often built on a base of a low level rhythmic mechanical churn, over which radar buzzing sounds, subdued siren tones and sweeping drone textures interweave. Noting that much of Jarl’s output inhabits a more minimalist realm, a fair amount of morphing and twisting territory is traversed here and having not heard Envenomist’s material before I can’t say how it directly compares, but it would seem logical that his input has provided the more dynamic edge to material.
Packaging consists of a 6 panel fold out eco-wallet, design courtesy of Karolina Urbaniak, and features what appears to be aerial satellite photography of the region to match the album’s theme. Although ‘Tunguska Event’ is a dark ambient album at its core, it also skews the typical cavernous/ deep space sonic aesthetic of much of the genre by its sound being heavily rooted in clinical industrialized tones within a fluid and flowing structure, making an interesting album in the process.