Anemone Tube – In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality

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Anemone Tube – In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality MC The Epicurean 2015

In advance of the (soon to be released) new album, this cassette EP represents a tasty appetizer.  Featuring 5 tracks over 20 minutes (ranging from the shortest at around 1 minute to the longest at 8.5 minutes), it is a further display of Anemone Tube’s particular style of harmonic/ disharmonic infused dark ambient/ industrial music.

The first and lengthiest track at eight and a half minutes, ‘In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality / Le Pont Du Diable’ is an excellent example of Anemone Tube’s approach. However it is also of interest to note that the track is more heavily reliant on orchestral oriented synth melodies than the usual solid base of looped and processed field recordings.  Featuring an atmosphere which is beautiful, tragic and forlorn in equal measures it is a composition with underpinning harmonic synths, which are countered by washes of higher pitched disharmonic noise and tonal drones.  Although this track is quite musically direct, field recording elements do appear in the later half (sirens, jack hammers and general street noise being clearly audible and evidently derived from Toyko and Kyoto).  With sustained wailing feedback and maudlin synth washes the tape continues its knifes edge balancing of elements through the shorter pieces ‘Turm Des Bösen (Die Letzte Weisheit)’ and ‘In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality II’, both of which reach similar musically oriented mood of the opening piece.  The final piece ‘Evangelium Der Weltharmonie’ concludes the tape and is a touch more subdued than the rest – here featuring a sacral mood evoked through subtle tonal washes and eastern toned ritual chimes and gongs (courtesy of Post Scriptvm).  Yet to speak of potential missteps, this would relate to the short 52 second track ‘Terror of Nature’ which jars the mood of the material preceding it, given it is not much more than a sparse twinkling melody and movie dialogue sampled from the 1984 animation film ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’.

From sound, concept*, and visual presentation, Anemone Tube’s releases are always highly considered affairs.  Consequently ‘In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality’ is far from being any sort of filler release, rather represents some of Anemone Tube’s strongest work to date and yet another demonstration of Stefan Hanser’s ability to create deeply evocative soundscapes built around melodious elements, sculpted field recordings and squalling feedback. With the new album ‘Golden Temple’ due for release in February, 2016, it is an album awaited with anticipation. This pro-duplicated tape and professionally printed cover has been issued with limitation of 150 copies.

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* – the concept of this tape is: “Related to Nietzsche`s notion of the Wagerian music drama as a revelation of the abysmal truth about man, “In The Vortex of Dionysian Reality” allures us into the Dionysian dreamland, where tragedy reigns, in pursuit of the ultimate oneness”.

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Illuminoscillate – Illicit Religion

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Illuminoscillate – Illicit Religion CD Secrets of Giza 2016

Being a couple of years on from the last CD (aka 2013’s ‘Uniform Wall’ – also released on Secrets of Giza – reviewed here), Illuminoscillate have now returned with a new offering.  Although remaining within an expansive dark ambient framework, ‘Illicit Religion’  has taken a step away from the mechanized throb and rhythmic churn of ‘Uniform Wall’ by opting for a droning and flowing approach.  Thematically speaking ‘Illicit Religion’ is said to deal with both the conscious and unconscious mind, whilst the 7 tracks/ 47 minutes form an interlinking whole (as with much dark ambient fare).

Although spanning seven and a half minute, the opener ‘Subliminal’ feels to be an extended intro piece, but does draw the listener in with a slow swirling mass of atonal layered drones. With this track acting as a gradual sonic descent, it leads into ‘Anonomunity’, which contains a fragment of a looped melody which hauntingly weaves through the ritualistic dronescape and in the process cements a meditative and esoteric tinged sound.  A mysterious and spiritual aura is then embedded within ‘Invocation – Sugito Town’, which is both distant and forlorn in feel.  Here the evocative scraping metallic textures (contact mic on sheet metal?) and ritualistic chimes gives rise to a compassion with late era raison d’etre – albeit here it features an Asiatic spiritual tone.  ‘Father of the Flame’ sits as the album’s centrepiece, with it esoteric ebbing and flowing atmospherics and sporadic use of an emotive female Japanese voice for added effect (courtesy of K.Saito). ‘Beneath Swollen Sands’ ratchets up the tension with static riddled drones and although far from being harsh is a forceful composition – a veritable downward spiraling black hole vortex.   Gradually shifting into ‘Blind Flight’, it reveals a track of shimmering, widescreen, barren wasteland ambience where a sparse barely detectable guitar and synth melody flirts within the background.  The final album offering ‘Resignation’ is then one of the shorter album pieces and the most sonically direct with rough pounding static forcefully grinding drones.

Although being paired back and minimalistic when compared to its predecessor, ‘Illicit Religion’ has still captured a sound and tone that blends the organic (field recordings, voices, etc.) and the synthetic (drones, multi-layered sonic treatments etc.) and consequently achieves an engaging and enveloping album.  It is also another seemingly an effortless display of abstracted but sonically engaging dark ambience from this rather critically under-appreciated project.  An album worthy of your attention.

Luke Holland – Decomposition

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Luke Holland – Decomposition MC Trapdoor Tapes 2015

Luke Holland of Amour Group and Mshing, (as well as being the label boss of Trapdoor Tapes), has opted to use his own name for this solo effort.   Being more subdued than his other works, this tape features industrialised dark ambient drones.  Seemingly the product of analogue synths and assorted equipment, the sound is befittingly rough to suit the tape format and photocopied styled art.

‘Decomposition 1’ takes up the first side of the tape and features tensile, elongated, industrial tinged drones with a sustained tonality and shimmering high-toned textures, which abruptly cuts out at the end of the tape.  ‘Decomposition 2’ follows a similar stylistic arc, but the tonality is more subdued and mid-toned, with what appear to be quasi-orchestral sustained synth notes mixed with a decent dose of crackle and hiss for rough textural quality.  Mid track it abruptly cuts from one segment to the next to feature a singular subdued oscillation coupled with sporadic static manipulations and gradually elevating rough distortion and drawling bass tone.

Overall the compositional approach on display could be viewed as being relatively uncomplicated and straightforward for this type of material, all the same it makes for suitably enjoyable listening, particularly given its analogue means of production and presentation on tape format.

Post Scriptvm – Guaze / Seance

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Post Scriptvm – Gauze LP Tesco Archaic Documents 2015

Post Scriptvm – ance LP The Epicurean 2015

Since the early 2000’s Post Scriptvm are a project who have gained positive underground recognition through their distinctive style; a sound which encapsulates a dissociative paranoid tone and skirts the border regions between dark ambient and industrial spheres. 2015 brings two additional vinyls to their discography, with the first being a repress of their debut album released on limited CDr in 2002 on the long defunct American label Somnambulant Corpse.  The second release is a new collection of live recordings from the group made between 2003 and 2014 spanning various live performances in Oakland, Brooklyn, Antwerp and Poland.

In line with the Tesco Archaic Documents label agenda, ‘Gauze’ has been given the reissue treatment on limited edition heavy weight vinyl, with new updated artwork which is much more fitting than the original packaging.  Musically speaking ‘Gauze’ is far less refined than later works from the project, rather choosing to wallow in death ambient/ death industrial mires.  On the opening cut ‘Cunctator’, the sparse, doom tinged and throbbing atmospheres give way to fleeting fragments of sampled choral vocals which cut through the dank suffocating ambience.  ‘Trepan’ contains more thickly muffled deep-shaft/ bunker styled murky ambience with touches of mechanized clatter, as a lone warbling voice intones a mood of post-destruction desolation.  ‘On the Brink’ is framed around a haze of intertwining mid-toned drones, giving way to distant windswept field samples, which leads into the following track ‘Pore’.  This final track for side A is announced by a distant air raid sirens, as an assemblage of cavernous metallic clatter provides loose pounding rhythmic structures of a death ambient/ industrial styling (which hits its mark excellently).  Moving onto Side B ‘The Binding’ is more direct in its industrial expression, with a grinding pulse and consistent, static charged thunder claps, but soon enough the piece pulls back in tone to wallow in death ambient obscurity.  The following and relatively short ‘Vox Calamantis’ opts for washes of aquatic toned layers to underpin its mid paced ominous rhythmic thump, further awash with prominent dialogue samples and organ styled dirge. ‘Gentle Diversions’ as the concluding piece rounds out the LP with ominous and paranoid death ambient soundscapes (a suitable blend of radio static drones, garbled vocalisations and muffled lurking terror).

Moving onto the live collection of tracks which make up ‘Séance’, from these recordings it noticeably demonstrates that in a live setting Post Scriptvm take on a much heavier and focused attitude.  Whilst specific tracks and musical segments are clearly recognizable, they are also pushed into more weighty sonic realms.  Examples of where this is evidenced includes ‘Upon Decadent Scum’, where the forceful grinding layers and heavily treated vocals encompass a forceful heavy electronics tone; as does ‘Ruins of Men’ with its thick, pulsing bass and clinically edged tones and synth washes.  The paranoid infused industrial tinged dark ambient sound is then on full display with the live rendition of ‘Corners’ (from the latest ‘Benommenheit’ album). Being a faithful yet slightly rougher and less crystalline live reproduction, it is an excellent example of the wonky and dissonant industrial atmospheres that Post Scriptvm have made their trademark.  For the final of the 8 tracks features as ‘Exacerbation’: a forceful piece which verges on the structured and direct style of Ex.Order’s power electronics.  Here wailing sirens, heavy grinding/ pounding elements, buried samples and distortion spat vocals make for a very engaging blend and ending to the LP (whilst the rousing crowd applause at its conclusion also highlights its reception in a live setting).

In comparing the two releases, whilst ‘Seance’ may be the album which is representative of Post Scriptvm’s sound today, ‘Gauze’ is still a very solid album in its chosen style of obscurity tinged death ambient/ death industrial reveries.  With reference to the number of excellent prior albums issued over the past decade and half, these new and strikingly presented vinyls equally function to please existing devotees, and further elevating the underground profile of Post Scriptvm.