Arkhe – Rift MC Cipher Productions 2015
As I understand it, the Swedish project Arkhe is effectively the continuation of an earlier project Pestdemon whose final release under that name was the rather excellent 2011 ‘Helvetesljuset’ LP (on Unrest Productions). Likewise although not having followed all of Arkhe’s output to date, I have at least heard their contribution to Styggelse’s ‘Slutstationen’ compilation and the 2013 MC ‘For Everything That Lives Is Holy’ (which itself was evidently initially conceived as a Pestdemon tape). ‘Rift’ is the latest release under the Arkhe name and constitutes an offering of two lengthy tracks (approx. 10 minutes each), and with being self-described as ‘death electronics’ this a rather apt stylistic description.
Deviating from the grindingly chaotic and occasionally harsh territories explored on ‘For Everything That Lives Is Holy’, ‘Rift’ displays controlled restraint with its industrial noise soundscapes. ‘Stoftets hus’ take up the first side, with a track of partially muffled tone and desolately intense, industrial tinged drones. Cyclically building in its approach and style, the bulk of sound ebbs and flows as it gradually pushes towards heavier blast furnace territory, although maintains its more ambient edge throughout. ‘Tystnadens hus’ takes up the flip side, and is again concerned with subdued industrial noise, where shuddering bass addled textures are partially buried within the dank morass of sound. Being laboured and heavy in tone, it maintains a generally restrained approach as the track grinds forwards at a catatonic pace, although a slow (muffled and distorted) ritual beat rises to greater primacy though the mid to late sections.
From the perspective of my sonic preferences ‘Rift’ is a stronger release than other Arkhe material I have heard, although I also do not know if ‘Rift’ itself is a deviation from a more typical approach. Packaging wise Cipher Productions have done an excellent job of providing a non-standard cover, featuring an oversized clear plastic shell slipcase, with printed stickers attached to the front and back and synthetic black flowers included along with the black tape. A worthy two track tape.