Monday, 1 February 2010

Lustmord, The Place Where The Black Stars Hang (1994); Stalker (1995)

[Back to new reviews, now, after a week of reruns. Though 'new' today means '1994'. You see, it's new to me.]
The track listing on 1994's The Place Where The Black Stars Hang gives a good sense of what this album is on about: "Sol Om On/Aldebaran of the Hyades/Dark Companion/Metastatic Resonance/Dog Star Descends" - all together in one 75 minute piece of music. It's 'dark ambient', which is to say it's all doomy, echoey, vast, humming, minor-key, chittery mood music. And very effectively so; the endless slowed-down gong-chime of the interstellar dark; the basso-profundo fizz of metal under strain; the low-pitched whitenoise of the starship drive; the soundeffects of thunder breaking over imaginary mountains on the imaginary horizon. It all comes together, towards the end, with what amounts to monkish plainsong chanting -- which clarifies the entire SFnal project. The thing about this sort of dark ambient, you realise, is that it embodies some fundamentally religious sublime in its apprehension of the chilly vastness of its musical landscape.

On the other hand, his version of Tarkovsky's Stalker (made with Robert Rich) seems less weighty, somehow. Not that there's any lack of huge, cavernous sound, and sound-effect; endless very slow, melody-free crescendos and diminuendos, uncanny thuds and knocks in the music's far distance, drones and whines and very-long-held notes that go up a semitone, stay there for a long time, and then slide back down again. But there's less structural coherence, and fewer moments of slow-won intensity.


Mark C Newton said...

I've only ever tinkered with that 'organic' ambient sound, like Robert Rich but more so Steve Roach. (Some of it reminds me of old school Pink Floyd - the bits you find in their Meddle album.)

Adam Roberts said...

The Dark stuff is pretty dour, though often atmospheric and rich and occasionally sublime. You might like it. There's no shagging in it, though.

Mark C Newton said...

No shagging? Fucksake.