Sektor 304 – Communiphones CD New Approach Recordings 2014
Martin Bladh & Sektor 304 – Ruby CDr Annihilvs 2014
Over a number of years Sektor 304 have become a highly lauded group for their ‘band collective’ take on classic industrial music elements. However here are a pair of Sektor 304 albums which are not of their recognized style; rather both sitting squarely within a dark ambient/ experimental frame of reference.
‘Communiphones’ is up first, being a single 35 minute experimental composition (the recording dating from 2012), which has been composed by the main dup of Andre Coelho and Gustavo Costa. Here the piece seems to be underscored by factory/ warehouse based field recordings and an undercurrent of buzzing static drones, over which multi-layered micro-tonal metallic scrapping sounds and textures are arranged. The pacing is slow and controlled, with tonal washes of sound bleeding in and out of the mix over extended passages, which function to highlight specific segments or movements. Additionally a mood of general tenseness permeates the overall atmosphere, with the impression created by the creaking, twisting and generally jagged metallic tones off the field recording elements. Through the middle of the piece the piece falls away into a lengthy passage which oscillates between a low ambient throbbing hum and windswept cavernous drones, again with the distant sound of metallic objects being shunted around on a factory floor. The final third then moves towards its conclusion with a gradually building synth drone, and despite its long form composition and general abstract tonality ‘Communiphones’ maintains drive, direction and interest throughout its duration.
Up next is ‘Ruby’, a collaboration between the group and IRM vocalist Martin Bladh, which is presented as another single track (52 minutes); although the album cover does designate 8 separate pieces or segments (‘I’ through ‘VIII’). Noting that Sektor 304 have previously collaborated with Martin Bladh on their half of the ‘Utopia / Decay’ split LP with Dissection Table, perhaps ‘Ruby’ can be considered as an extension of that collaborative process. The ‘Ruby’ recording dates then from 2012-2013 and apart from Martin’s text and vocal contributions, features the inputs of 5 individuals (Andre Coelho, Gustavo Costa, Joao Filipe, Henrique Fernandes & Angelica Salvi). Although broadly experimental, the music has a feel of being slightly more ‘band’ or ‘collective’ focused, given the tracks are slightly more composed and urgent. Yet with an amorphous and abstract feel ‘Ruby’ is a far cry from the song based material of other Sektor 304 albums. As such the musical movements are soundscape oriented with vague thrummed bass, sparse metallic/ junk metal percussion, experimental drones and general waves of distortion. Martin’s vocals are then dispersed throughout and either spoken or whispered in delivery and presented in a general narrative and/ or personal ‘psychoanalytical’ type style and intriguingly sound bizarrely childlike at times (from either pronunciation or having been warped in post-production). Given its general abstract experimental style, one segment stands out due to its divergent use of a solo harp melody and the lone accompaniment to Martin multi-layered whispered/ spoken vocals. The final track has a sound of a ‘typical’ band formation, but here is far more of a standard alt-rock feel (aka SWANS), given its straight forward guitars and percussion, but with that said the sweeping electronics drones and metallic percussion giving it a more underground industrial edge.
Noting both albums have little benchmarks or points of reference to the main Sektor 304 albums, these are still excellent recordings for completely different reasons. But rather than pointing to new territory, it seems these albums may be a means to issue the last remaining recorded output of the project given Sektor 304 have quietly called it a day as an active project. Given it is an absolute shame that Sektor 304 has ceased recording activity, these recordings stand as testament to the varied output and approach of the group.