Music Reviews

Artist: Sigma Octantis (@)
Title: Dissipations
Format: CD
Label: Malignant Records (@)
Rated: *****
Sigma Octantis is a magnitude 5.42 star in the constellation Octans most notable for being the current South Star, approximately 270 light years from Earth. Sigma Octantis is also a band from France, and 'Dissipations' is their final album. Formed in the early 2000's, they have three prior releases from 2007 - 2012. They make no bones about their admiration for Morthound, Benny Nilsen's project that had four releases on Cold meat Industry back in the early 90's. I often wondered why Nilsen dumped Morthound in favor of his other projects, but so it goes, and CMI isn't around anymore either. Leave it to these French guys to carry on the Morthound tradition (sort of) while bringing something new to the table in the process. This isn't exactly a typical Malignant release, but I'm sure they heard something in Sigma Octantis that made them an interesting addition to their roster. (The CD was released on OPN Records in France.)

The band is basically a trio - guitar, bass and drums, with additional electronics, but any similarity to any "power trio" you may ever have heard ends here; that's not at all what Sigma Octantis is about. Although there is power to spare when they're really cranked up, Sigma Octantis is well versed in the ambient aspects of their sound too. 'Dissipations' is an entirely instrumental foray into a twisted, post-industrial landscape of the unfathomable. From the album's watery beginning swimming with electronic eels in the murky depths of an ancient lake, you might think you've stumbled upon an unreleased work by Tangerine Dream. Not so, once the martial thudding of the tribal drumming begins. Distorted guitars carry forth a theme of semi-melodic origin in a glorious cacophony that would make the noisiest shoegazer band quiver with envy. What melody there is is incidental (maybe accidental) and as simplistic as it gets. 'Fantôme Infinitésimaux' is one of the heaviest psychedelic mantras I've ever heard. It is indicative of the way Sigma Octantis just builds on a basic them that doesn't involve any more than a few chords (often just a couple) but makes an atmospheric smorgasbord of dark delights that overwhelm the senses. Much of 'Dissipations' is spacy modern psychedelia at its finest. In many places, the sound is just huge, giving an awesome impression of the megalithic juxtaposed with the futuristic. "Parle Moi, Il Fait Si Noir' is atypical track that has a lighter, wavering, bellish electronic ambience before the heavy drums and groaning guitar kicks in with a stately, yet bombastic theme that swell in your head over and over. Final track, "Farewell" is a glorious outro, swollen with all the sturm und drang Sigma Octantis can muster, yet tempered in the middle with a kind of shoegazer break, before it builds to another bombastic conclusion. If you're a fan of Morthound, Deutsch Nepal, or the latter works of Caul, this album is a must. Limited to only 500 copies. Get it before it's too late.

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