I’m a little late on this September-released album from Babe, Terror but I glad I went back around to it. It’s a really interesting hour shaped from the most downtempo of electronica, a collection of eight fairly long moody collages full of acoustic instrumentation and atmospherics, and plenty of orchestral sounds and wordless choral noises that give the whole thing a very grandiose scale.
Opener “Scalar Velodromeda” comes across as a form of controlled mess- the bizarre pull of twanged guitar strings in parallel with scratchy plucked piano over waves of choral vocal chords could certainly be described as bizarre, and when the saxophone appears towards the end it’s only the underlying tension that prevents the collage from bordering on silly.
Pieces like “Alcalis” show a more composed and less chaotic side, with soft melodic and synth work that’s very mature and emotive. It’s never overtly calm though, and there are a series of steady cameos from other sonic elements, a form of sonic collage which at times reminds me of old Jimmy Cauty sound collages- particularly “Waiting For The Rites Of Mu”, again probably because of the slow and distant choir sounds.
“Estuário Transur'nia” brings the unusual extra ingredient of an acid-house style bleeping arpeggio that pretends initially to bring structure and rhythm, but ends up competing with further sax and close-recorded guitar.”At It’s an element that also underpins the latter moments of “Salina Lumen”, leading into the start of “Horizogon Catalase” which teases a form of techno pulsing before dropping rather abruptly into orchestral work again. It’s this piece that perhaps best fits the airport theme of the accompanying video work, with its contrasting pulls of technology, constantly ticking time, passivity and lack of control, and the sense of a crowd of people all working to different schedules.
Being honest, it is hard to tell at times which parts of this release are samples, if any. It has a sampled and lo-fi feel at times, but this could be due to the treatment rather than the source. The more original the pieces are, the more high-budget it must have been, and if there were no samples in it at all I’d describe this as one of the most expansive and expensive-sounding releases I’ve heard in a long time.
“Horizogon” is described as an “apocalypse opus”, and it’s worth mentioning it was completed in 2019 so that can’t even be blamed on reflections of covid-19 either. It’s a really distinctive-sounding release, not always comfortable, and sometimes just a little too obtuse in its abstraction, but really attention-grabbing. It’s a recipe of textures that feels fresh and interesting.
Every track on this release has an accompanying video, making it easy for you to check yourself if you find it easier to listen than to read reviews (perhaps I should’ve mentioned at at the start!)