Thursday, July 9, 2020
«« »»

Michal Turowski: Wormwood and Flame

     More reviews by
Artist: Michal Turowski (@)
Title: Wormwood and Flame
Format: CD + Download
Label: Mozdok/Positive Regression (@)
Rated: *****
A noise/drone review wasn't my first choice on this sunny Sunday, but since there's not much else (physical product) in the hopper, and the raison d'être is somewhat compelling, we'll go with it. Electronic/industrial/dark ambient artist Michal Turowski, from Warsaw, Poland, has had a number of releases over the past several years, perhaps most notably with the electronic/industrial project Gazawat, and the similar Mazut with Pawel Starzec. Likely a big name on the Polish underground scene, but not so much in the U.S., this is my first encounter with Turowski's music. 'Wormwood and Flame' is a concept album about the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster, likely the worst ever, that fucked up a lot land and a lot of people for a really, really long time. While one could interpret track titles to aspects and phases of the disaster (26 April 1986, Pripyat, Black Wind, Sarcophagus, Red Forest, etc.) it will not give you the sense of what this work really sounds like. Industrial/noise/drone may be an okay overall description, but lacks detail in nuance. While I'm not inclined to provide a track-by-track description, I can say that the album starts out with heavy metallic drone, something akin to what you might hear visiting certain types of factories where metal is cut and processed in large hangar-like environments. (Not only should you have your safety goggles and hardhat on, but a respirator and ear muffs as well.) The next step in this 11-track trip refines the processing a bit honing in on a more specific type of metallic drone. (Better keep those ear muffs on though as the sound can be piercing.) A repetitive looped, crushing, noise machine is the next thing up with plenty of crunchy distortion. The next few segments provide cold, bleak, isolationist quasi-industrial environments that are quite different from each other but vary little in and of themselves over time. Track 7 ("Azure Swimming Pool") sounds like an endless dump of metallic scrap down a metal chute. More repetitive looped metal processing follows and get tedious after a while. A repeating series of pitched, descending, noise sweeps could have been interesting had it developed into something (besides continuing on for nearly four minutes) and that points up the problem inherent in this album; once each piece is set in motion, there is very little development over time, rendering them somewhat static. For a noise release though, this is rather placid if you don't play it at high volume. No question though that this is a cold and alienated work, perhaps reflecting the aftermath of Chernobyl in its desolation. Limited to 100 physical copies.


< Previous Review | Next Review >