Lemna: Figure and Ground (Sacred Court)

The usual Grey Area split of (less interesting IMO) 128bpm and (more tense, captivating) 85/170bpm excursions (‘Convergence’ & ‘Incoherent’) through intricately devised production line process.

Unsynched, metallic polyrhythms, sheets and blocks, glide past each other on vari-speed conveyor belts to undisclosed end points. Just as your brain thinks it has computed the pattern/groove it twists and bends into something else…

A strange feeling of intimacy. Up close observation. A dispassionate void. The machinations of AI automation. While there might be a certain amount of poetry in that (and it might be your kink?) there’s a niggling that this is just another souless interaction with another cybernetic organism?

Ancestral Voices: Navagraha (Horo)

A ‘concept album’ based on Hans Cousto’s “Cosmic Octave”.

Hmmm all very po-faced. Not sure we need to know that? or if it’s just irrelevant intellectual ingenuity. Plenty of different shades of grey over the the 1h34min play length for sure, some dark some light, but sorry, it doesn’t “create a profound effect on the consciousness of the listener.” Not on this one anyway. No more than any other technically accomplished ambient outing. (Compare and contrast for example, to the equally cosmic newly released 1999 recording Kshatrya (The Eye of the Bird)’ from the avant-garde composer Igor Wakhevitch on Transversales Disques).

We’re all too tainted as cultural consumers in the cinematic sweep of common or vulgar film scores, telling us just what to feel at the cues; the failed attempts at sublimity (pathos). Needless to say, it gets way more interesting (as always) when harnessed to a pulse, a beat and ultra low tectonic sub bass.

Von Grall: Three Waves (Horo)

Grallish

I dunno about the waves reference in the title? To me it’s an immersive drift down a long dark river – ‘Aguirre’/‘Heart of Darkness’ etc. each track perhaps portraying a distinct vista or section of the same journey?

Fuzzy, incessant, polyrhythmic beacons pulse in the gloom and murk. There’s the sense of an unknown beyond… and a feverish, indifferent blankness (as opposed to any menace or peril) to the somber walls of impenetrable chattering Amazonian canopy he builds. ’Suffrage Campaigners’ is (possibly?) the heaviest, maze-like cut here on what for me is his best and most complex release yet.

ANFS: A Shallow Ascetic (Horo)

There’s a slightly seedy, pornographic, beaded cock ring and butt plug, masochistic vein to his penchant for toying with the tension and release – the juddering start/stop boom beats, that hold back and never give (on ‘Dervisis’) and the slowed down, teasing pump of the deconstructed, joyless Amen on ‘Kounoupi’. There’s certainly minute crafting in the slithering and fizzing detail beneath, but you won’t find any real climaxes here, let alone pleasure, just an obsessive compulsion with stasis and pervy, lubed-up technique.

DiNT: Hooker (Horo)

Must say, I didn’t think too much of this when it came out in March. I’d been playing catch up and listening to a tonne of the Grey Area et al. stuff over the last months so maybe I’d just ODed on the Horo sound? It sounded too muddy and murky with all its (mercifully) low in the mix corrosive EDM vocals and farty bass. I bought it though, like the nerd I am, and persevered with it in the pick-up with the sub woofer cranked on my night drives home. And suddenly I got right into it. It seemed to get better on repeat listens (something that’s not always or often the case). The extended 10 minute ‘Skewer’ was the one that did it for me and pulled me in: the cavernous Doom claps that whip up the vibe at the beginning….but then I wish they hadn’t been dropped out of the mix altogether….something could have really been done with those?