I have followed Wilt’s music for many years and have admired his work. For those unfamiliar with James Keeler’s output, it manages to straddle the line between noise and dark ambient. Sometimes he falls definitively on one side or the other, but it is this mixture of noise and calm that I find intriguing About his work. Then again, this is on Self Abuse Records, so let’s see what this particular tape sounds like.
We kick it all off with “The Fiery Visaged Firmament Expressed Abhorrence,” and from the very beginning, you get the feeling of darkness. This is the sound of a house burning down during a thunderstorm in the woods. You stand outside. Alone. With nothing but the crackling flames to keep you company. And the eyes staring at you from behind from the cover of the forest. “Where Poisonous And Undying Worms Prolong” is droning soundscape with just a hint of noisiness and synth creeping through. Reminds me of the feeling that Lustmord manages to evoke, more than style. “The Darkness Which Ascends With Me” features drones that wash over you like waves of the sea. Nice and dark. “Whose Horrible Lusts Spread Misery Over The World” is a short, noisier track. “The Earth Groans Beneath Religions Iron Age” is pulsing synth drone with crackling noise. There is a lot of variety in this track that keeps it interesting. Layers of sound submerging and then coming up to be heard before diving back beneath the surface. “Like Darkness To A Dying Flame” ends the side with a repetitive synth line over howling wind noise. Kind of peaceful, if a bit unsettling.
Flipping the tape over, we have “The Lamp Of Earthly Life Extinguished In The Dampness Of The Grave.” You could almost file this under "peaceful noise." It's noise, but not harsh. I really like this. “Loathing Vapours Hung” has swells of drone with subtle, crackling static over sounds of decaying machinery in the distance. “Raking The Cinders Of A Crucible” features analog tones that sound like lightsabers with low level synth drone underneath. This is like listening to a sci-fi movie soundtrack, but not during a battle scene. This is the suspenseful part where the two sides are trying to get the jump on the other, but it's dark and machines are hissing in the background, obscuring the other's footsteps. “A Deep Reflecting Gloom” keeps the cinematic noisiness going, with a repetitive synth line over deep bass noise rumblings. Keeping with the soundtrack theme, this is the scene where the battle has all but ended. There is still the faint sound of ordinance in the distance, but the conflict has been decided. It is not a happy ending for anyone involved. “Cave And Ruin” feels a bit more noisy than the other tracks, but blends well with them, maintaining a sense of continuity. A nice close to the tape.
This was incredibly cohesive, and everything felt like it belonged together. Not calm enough to be dark ambient, and not noisy enough to be noise. If you are looking for harsh noise, this is not going to fit the bill. But if you like interesting sound textures with a bit of a jagged edge to it, this will be just what you are looking for. The best comparison I can come up with is Inade. Well worth getting.