Music Reviews

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Artist: Rudolf Eb.Er
Title: Om Kult: Ritual Practice of Conscious Dying - Vol. I
Format: CD + Download
Label: Schimpfluch Associates
“Om Kult” is a collection of 31 short atmospheres built out of electronic drones and noises that are garnished liberally with a broad collection of dark, gothic audio imagery- found sounds from monks chanting, maggots feeding on carcasses, the sound of digging and scratching in dirt, human and animal growling, scream in pain and so on. Eb.er describes it as “a glimpse into occult techniques for the transition from life to death”. It’s fair to say this isn’t a comedy album.

Does it stand up as a sonic work out of its compositional, or de-compositional, context? Not wholly. With many of the tracks under two minutes long it sounds like a sketchbook of sonic ideas, many of which begin and end abruptly as though samplers of longer works. The digital processing certainly throws up curious effects. The pieces are rarely long enough to have the kind of mental baseline-shifting effect that some drone and noise works are capable of. At times it just sounds like the blackest of sound effects CD’s.

The six parts of “How To Die” are perhaps the strongest section, adopting a structure that feels more scripted and ritualistic, especially with the slow unrelenting kick sound that begins in the first part. “Licht (Unborn Light)” is notably theatrical, with more overt vocal noises and wailing. “Beelzefest” is notable, for maybe the wrong reasons, because it’s difficult to tell whether you’re listening to pitched-up human screaming, or the sound of seagulls who’ve spotted your sandwich.

There’s a rich underground history of dark noise work like this, and while this release increases the size of that oeuvre, it doesn’t really expand or push it particularly far. If you like your extremely dark noises in bite-sized easy-to-digest chunks, then this may well be very palatable for you; if not then you may find it to be one of those challenges that doesn’t offer enough reward.



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