The first thing you notice with this album, before you even put the disc in the player, is the packaging. As with other Oxidation discs, this one has some involved packaging. In this case, the CD case is glued to a wooden tile with a photo print and the opposite side has dried moss stuck to the wood. Nice. So on to the music itself. The label describes Internal Fusion as “one of the pioneering dark ambient artists with releases on Staalplaat, Désaccord Majeur, Kokeshidisk, and ta'lem.” Indeed, this French artist has put out some interesting work in the past, so I had high hopes for this one.
This disc consists of one 53 minute track, but you really can't think of it as one track. It is better to think of it as a series of interconnected compositions and there is a lot going on in this album. We begin with some stuttering spoken word that's heavily processed. Over time, there ends up being some noise built into it and someone bowing on a cello and rattling metal and chains. Before you know it, things have become quite noisy. This composition shifts gears constantly. At one point you're in noise and then the next thing you know you have synth lines similar to old Mortiis, which also then dissolves into noise. Slow plodding drum beats mixed with bits of piano tinkling and hissing noise. Everything is grist for the creative mill.
As I listened to this, I was reminded of a play I saw many years ago called La Ronde. The premise of the play is that the characters in it behave as if they're in a round dance. The play begins with two lovers. As one leaves, the story follows the one who leaves to meet up with a different lover. The next scene follows the second lover to a third lover and so on until the last lover is with the first one. This album seems to follow a similar trajectory and that's one of the things that I love about this album. Bits and pieces from the previous segment merge into a second segment which then follows through with a third and so on down the line until at the end we're back to - you guessed it - the distorted voices of the beginning. This is a wonderful album because it manages to keep things changing constantly while maintaining a sense of continuity.
Overall, this is incredibly well-crafted experimental and highly recommended. Get a copy while it is available. The moss edition is limited to 50 copies and the no moss edition is also limited to 50. This album weighs in at 53 minutes.
Substantia Innominata is a special 10" series by Drone Records dedicated to artists exploring the intangible and transforming their ideas into exclusive audio works. Most of these have LP length and are limited, high quality pressings on coloured vinyl with special artwork and well known names like Illusion Of Safety, Daniel Menche, Bass Communion, irr.app. (ext.) to name but a few sit besides nearly unknown artists. This release; Arkhaîos is volume 27, issued in black Vinyl in an edition of 300 copies. Jérémie Mathes is an French sound artist from the Field Recordings, Experimental, Musique Concrète area with published works on ta'lem and Unfathomless and Hymen Records (in collaboration with Jérôme Chassagnard). Here he's working primary with processed field recordings, for this release made from sounds recorded in an abounded factory site generated with found objects, Tibetan bowl, small bells, percussions, cymbal, a bow, and a violin. The tones of vacated, empty spaces and it's reflections used do not provide a comfort zone for the listener but while the soundscapes here are special the balance is well kept to distance them from bleak darkness. Starting with an extended introduction of lonely resounds a slowly approaching intense drone makes up most of "Tómleiki". 19 Minutes filled with static movement, emptiness and an otherworldly view in an altered reality creep slowly forward into an unknown territory. On the other side the second piece "Yliaster" strengthens the impression of having arrived somewhere unknown. It settles down with a powerful 18 Minutes long flow capturing body and soul likewise; Time flies here - or just doesn't matter any longer. Mentally this leads into the underworld of the subconscious but luckily this is Vinyl only so the danger of getting completely lost after hitting the repeat button is banned right from the start.
This collection of sound-pieces is the work of an very experienced recording engineer - Doug Haire from Seattle, Pacific NW, USA who's spent a long time of his life supporting experimental musicians hosting a radio show and recording exclusives for it. He is also a member of the Seattle Phonographers Union - a collective working and performing only with unprocessed field-recordings since 2002. Campsites is his first solo release since 2012's Removed And Haunted. I imagine him now retired from session work, sitting by the campfire he could not resist to capture the moods and it's really incredible how he transmits the atmospheres with his field recordings which later on where supplied by decent drones. This reflecting on the reflection is executed with true mastery. The overall calm sounds aided by the underlying subliminal drones lead inescapable to a loss of the sense of time. The seven tracks are all subtle individual but work as a coherent whole, none is too lengthy and all mixing, mastering and production was done solely by Doug Haire himself. I've found myself sitting suddenly in the last fading light of the day, mentally completely caught up in the moment - just like a campfire meditation - with engaged senses fully aware of the never ending surroundings. Campsites is as pictorial as a sound-work can be and leaves a lasting impression of an artists vision, offering his experiences to any open-minded listeners.
It's been a while since I heard an EP with a total playing time of just about 11 Minutes length and 5 tracks but actually it does not feel like this due to the constant changes and mutations of the tracks. Inconvenience Store actually found their own way with collaging samples from the media, experimental noises and real instruments like Bass and Drums to perform their own brand of freestyle hardcore with a poppy edge. While the trio is together since 2012 this is only their 4th release which is somewhat surprising as this might be more complicated in performance than in the studio but obviously it works for them. Track titles as "Loss_Regret_Pain_Grief_Lust_Greed" and the ultra-dark cover mislead expectations at first but this production shows a lot of humour. The listening time is well invested here and in case you buy it the funds will be donated to The Massachusetts Bail Fund which will add to your karma.
Iou3R are a Spanish trio from Barcelona active since 2017 in the wide field of noise-rock, experimental and ambient drones. La Serp EP is their second release, following their single longform piece debut album 'Escornalbou' from 2019. The 4 (24 bit professionally mastered) tracks here show the musicians craftsmanship and a wealth of ideas to inspire listeners. They set out for a moody tension with the wall of sound guitar driven title track and do manage to keep this tension fluently alive while moving away from prominent guitars but adding voices, modular synthesizers, theremin and percussive elements and shifting the moods to an closing almost soundtrack-ish audio piece with "Tout Le Dràstik #2". The two shorter tracks in between "Dejú" and "En Forma De Ojo" are accomplished works which make me think I shouldn't have dropped my Spanish lessons back then as I guess there are some clever hints hidden I surely missed in midst the layers of sounds. It's easy to hear that they are also confident live performers with years of practice and experience - the tracks are varied, well developed and never outstay their welcome. They use their freedom and create their own aural territory open minded and with passion. I'm looking forward to the proposed 2nd album which should appear end of this year.
PS: A small CD edition with handprinted artwork is also available.