S S S S: Just Dead Stars for Dead Eyes LP Hallow Ground

S S S S: Just Dead Stars for Dead Eyes       LP    Hallow Ground

Two lengthy tracks make up this album of ambient noise from Swiss producer Samuel Savenburg; produced over a two week long artists residency at Lucerne’s ‘Sudpol’ in the summer of 2015.

‘Pt1’ draws on an engaging array of harmonic, emotive synth and pad structures that rise from a bed of harsh electronics.  Mid-way through the blisters soar upward; leaving the listener floating amongst clouds of spatial drifts, that is occasionally interrupted by the storm below.

‘Pt2’ is an altogether noisier affair, more akin to some of the output from PE artists.  This does have its moments of tension amongst the oppressive rumbles; with some genuine cinematic interruptions, that are more than welcome once things become a trifle overwhelming (due to the length of the track).

Overall, this is a decent affair that should appeal mainly to fans of genuine Industrial music, Dark Ambient and Power Electronics; showcasing a competent feel for all these genres, with flair.

8/10

ELECTRIC SEWER AGE: Bad White Corpuscle LP Hallow Ground

electricsewerage

ELECTRIC SEWER AGE: Bad White Corpuscle       LP         Hallow Ground

Originally released on CD through the fitting Old Europa Café in 2014, this finally sees the light of day on vinyl as a re-issue through Hallow Ground.

As a follow up to his debut, ‘Moon’s Milk in the Finale Phase’, Danny Hyde follows the well-trodden path of Dark Ambient; and as before, does this remarkably well.  Given the history he has of remixing acts such as the mighty COIL, Psychic TV and Depeche Mode; I would have been surprised if he hadn’t.

‘Bad White Corpuscle’, doesn’t exactly pander to the age old Dark Ambient genre as an overall oppressive mass.  There are moments of tranquillity that steer away from the norm, such as the gentle electronics on ‘Corpuscular Corpuscle’ (he really likes the word ‘corpuscle’); that lean on Hyde’s knowledge of general electronic music.  The album as a whole is all the better for this ability alone.

When it is needed however, Electric Sewer Age does manage to kick the listener into the black abyss.  The only difference being the paranoid tweaking and manipulation of blips and bleeps that flutter through the darkness; that drag the title track and ‘Black Corpuscle’ into the realms of trippy, Jazz influenced ritualistic oddities.  Overall, this is a strange release; that challenges the norm usually associated in these circles.

8/10

NORMAN WESTBERG: The All Most Quiet LP Hallow Ground

LP_Cover.indd

NORMAN WESTBERG: The All Most Quiet    LP   Hallow Ground

Here we have the latest solo release from legendary SWANS guitarist, Norman Westberg.  As with all his work outside the mighty act fronted by Michael Gira, this is a somewhat quieter affair (sort of).

The opening title track to this two-song (but lengthy) album; plays on high-end drones and resonating hums, layered into throbbing ambient mass.  As a gradual ascension, this works well in holding the listener steadfast and engaged to completion.

In contrast, side B comprises of an altogether different affair with ‘Sound 2’.  For me this is reminiscent of the background filler work; that goes into the glue at the seams of many a SWANS track.  As such, this does fail to ignite any emotion, with it not being part of any greater being of substance.  It takes nearly half the song to kick into its own, before a sea of blissful ambient closes the show.

As such, this does knock the scoring on this release.  Westberg is an undeniable talent, but does seem to ponder too long on areas of songs when they’re at their most uninspiring; rather than concentrate his efforts on the sections that are at their most beautiful.   Either way, this is a solid and stable affair overall.

7.8/10

DRIFTMACHINE: Eis Heauton LP Hallow Ground

DEH_JACKETS_withOUT_Template copy

DRIFTMACHINE: Eis Heauton    LP Hallow Ground

Titled with the Greek term for having a ‘conversation with ones self’ is surely something we can all relate to; it also gives an intimate and personal edge to the stark electronics displayed on the latest album by this Berlin based duo.

Modular synths are heavily on the agenda here, with echoing dub influences pitter-pattering amongst ominous tones and delayed, sparse electronic intersections. Florian Zimmer and Andreas Gerth, experiment with space, where little is more; and each note is given its own stage to reverberate and shine.

‘Eis Heauton’ is a peculiar affair, but nonetheless more engaging because of it. A robotic world of hums and wiry stretched bleeps portraying a future that never happened; a cacophony of archaic computer systems that became self-aware, fumbling around in a graveyard of underpowered CPU’s. Either way, for all its faults, Driftmachine’s latest output is genuinely intriguing, if not restricted by its limited appeal.

8/10

COLIN POTTER: Rank Sonata LP Hallow Ground

colinpotter

COLIN POTTER: Rank Sonata LP Hallow Ground

From the collaborator of Nurse With Wound, Current 93 and Organum comes a responsibility to produce something more than credible in the music stakes; and Potter need not hang his head in shame.

An old school ethos flows well through this (what appears to be) mainly analogue affair, with opener, ‘A Wider Pail of Shale’ (you see what he did there?) providing a steady array of Industrial tribal beats, electronics and instrumentation that are pleasing to the ear.

Off-kilter synths are next up on ‘And’, utilising a bastardised and slowed down, stuttering dance arpeggio. The tension rises as the track progresses, with light orchestration ascending through the mix; and for me is most likely the best track on the album.

‘Knit Where?’ sub grinds out electronics alongside a steadfast thump. As the track progresses so does the background volume of the static infused sounds, making for an engaging listen, where things don’t exactly kick off as you might imagine; instead petering out into the ether.

Closing this release is ‘Beyond the Pail’, utilising all his skills in DIY Industrial that has served him well throughout his musical career and reigniting his efforts on track 1. Hypnotic electronics and machine-like overdrives, fuels a riotous end to what is all in all, a fine album from start to finish.

9/10