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Black Sun Productions, "Chemism"

Chemism is the "mutual attraction, interpenetration, and neutralisation of independent individuals which unite to form a whole". Strangely though, the collaborations here tend not to come across as collegial, not through any enforcement or dictates by the duo, but through the strength of the chemistry between this collective's core. Black Sun Productions may have gathered a cast of like-minded souls to shape this album, but this still feels like the work is led by the distinctly European vision of the single mind of Massimo and Pierce. In this way, it seems like an ideal description of their working process.

 

Old Europa Cafe

Moving away from the sombre marathon of their grand The Impossibility of Silence double release, this is an emotionally stricter, more rhythm-led release. The exacting looped beats that most of the tracks here are built up around are aimed more at creating atmospheres than anything to do with tempo or the dancefloor. Through the textures and unsupportive structures of the percussion sounds these appear as integral layers rather than a mere programmed skeletons. Removed from their clanking heavier roots they can either sunk to complex scratchy sputterings ("The Repossession of Innocence Lost"), the bars of hell's gate rattling. This isn't a grand techno epic filling every inch with sound, there is an immense amount of space left on Chemism. These gaps, the cold melodies and the air of ridged melancholy give the album a chilly air that refuses to leave. Even their abstraction feels like its being viewed by carnal eyes through black curtains, the clatter of tin rain on plastic roofs feeling voyeuristic. There’s room for the slightly less serious too, Black Sun Productions never confusing dark music with miserabilism, the simple descending notes taking a brief segway into an huffing orchestral oompah groove.

Their world on Chemism seems to be slowly becoming ruled by a more obviously electronic heart, but a heart nonetheless. The occasional richness of Massimo's vocals only serves to sink the album further into spiritual impiety. His entreaties sink like inverted plainsong, coaxing ravens frm gibbets and young men to their doom. Even the beatific coated vocals soar, as on the closing "Veneration X," they still sound like falling angels clutching fatal wounds. Their previously released paean to William Burroughs, "Uncle Billy," sounds even better in this company than on 7" vinyl, the violin making its mark in the mix. The Coil-like vibraphone melody of "Dies Juvenalis" is the only easily observable link back to their musical roots, the rest of the LP sounding free of heavy or direct influence.

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Rachel Goswell

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Review of the Day

ILLUMINATI, "CDEP2"
Planetsounds
You'd be hard pushed to realise that samples from classical music form the core of the second Illuminati EP, as they've mostly been utterly distorted and pulverised beyond recognition. A middle aged electrician commented that this reminded him of Soft Machine which is odd because Dave Clarkson of Illuminati and Planetsounds is a big fan of theirs, but I'd never have thought it was something that sounded similar. When I mentioned the comparison to Dave he asked if it was the third track, "Glass Box Trap" which chucks a melodic keyboard jitter over thrumming double drone backbone, and a nasal voice muttering disgruntled and nebulous. If I was going to fling comparisons at Illuminati though I'd have to mention Throbbing Gristle, particularly "DOA," but I think I did that with the first EP. This one has the same picture on the cover, but inverted to negative and in some ways this a darker and more menacing trip. A deep singular pulse beat opens the strange door onto a microscope resolution for "Midget Germs" which vibrate ominously in hell spawned misery. Feedback screams and muffled moans punctuate this tortured cancerous eyeball injection. The poor germs don't stand a chance when "Argenteum Atavism" squirts beatnoise bleach all over them. Crunching along in hectic overloaded abandon, this is what it might sound like if Aphex Twin tried to put one over on Non. Just as the melody creeps in one final crash collapses into semi-ambient bleepscape gurgling. The fourth and final track swings "The Strange Door" shut and desperate knocking can be heard from outside as the germs shut outside slowly fizzle to their demise, and a new dawn of lush angelic keyboard bursts across the blackened sky. Distant thunder rumbles.

 

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