Mnem – Elyktrion

Mnem – Elyktrion LP Verlautbarung 2020

Mnem are an obscure Finnish project I have been aware of by name for many years, yet apart from their single track featured on the 2xLP 2013 compilation Stein: Interpretationen Eines Geologischen Materials Und Seiner Symbolik (reviewed here), I have somehow missed checking out other output. Elyktrion would appear to be their sixth album since 2000 yet has functioned as my proper introduction to the group.

Similar to the other hand assembled covers of other releases on Verlautbarung, Elyktrion features a beautifully textured cover, which is in fact a plain black sleeve which has been purposefully distressed (most likely by hand with sandpaper). With further printed elements attached, combined with a further two insets, the presentation immediately gives a special and oddly obscure feel which perfectly matches the minimalist sonics. Given that one of the inserts indicated that the album was: ‘recorded with reel-to reel tapes and effect pedals and mixed on 8-track compact cassette recorder’ and functions to provide an immediate indication of the likely tone and sonic approach.

Seven instrumental tracks feature across both sides of the black wax, and function to articulate variations on the theme of minimalist and instrumental tape explorations of the looped variety. A general muted and grey hued tone articulates the broader atmospheric aesthetic, where the sound can be further described as the erratic idling of archaic machines of ill-defined purpose. Likewise the slow movement of the sound is sonically insistent rather that hefty or forceful, where each track features a slow burning cyclic churn which sonically articulates both stasis and momentum at the same time. Of specific note Stimulus Hauler includes slow panning sound between the speakers creates a hypnotic trance inducing effect, while another track warranting specific mention is the final alum track Oblivion Arc edges slightly towards a catacombic ritual ambient sound of Archon Satani’s Mind Of Flesh & Bones album.

Elyktrion is an album I have very much enjoy from the initial listen to detailed appreciation during follow up spins, and will certainly have me seeking out the earlier material from Mnem. The LP comes in an edition of a mere 104 copies, and the tape in a similar number of 100.

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