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the outsider - an aural channeling of h. p. lovecraft
somnambulant corpse   2002
  see also
somnambulant corpse website

album rating: 3

submitted by jc smith on 1-Dec-2002

The long, eerie shadow of H.P. Lovecraft stands taller in modern culture than when he was alive, casting a spell on those willing to explore the wealth of images and ideas he brandished with an obsessive fervor. The key is how creative individuals (musicians, writers, artists, etc.) have taken the Lovecraft ideology and, using it as a springboard, expanded and incorporated their own individual imprints. Though not always successful (most of the movies), and often used as a reference point without much depth (many metal bands), there are creative individuals who have grasped the Lovecraft ethos with imagination and understanding (some of the music of Endvra, the art of H. R. Giger, much of the writing, especially the early contributors including Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, up through more modern writers Brian Lumley, Colin Wilson, etc.).

The Outsider - An Aural Channeling Of H.P. Lovecraft is one of the more successful excursions, as most every contributor has embraced either the full-scale cosmic audacity or, at least, a sense of the 'weird' that elicits an appropriately disorientating, or downright creepy, response from the listener. The collection is mainly a showcase for the burgeoning Somnambulant Corpse label, though Murderous Vision (lurking synths and jumbled voices), The Hollowing (out of sync herds of mewling, burping, caustic noise) and the mighty Schloss Tegal (subtly itchy drones, a sense of measured dread) add their expertise to the proceedings. As a showcase for bands with releases either out or upcoming, though, one is left highly impressed by the Somnambulant Corpse roster.

Tugend's "Through The Gates Of The Silver Key" opens with a sense of purpose, a low rumble marshalling of focus, before stumbling blindly about a landscape etched in moody synths and scattered clanging percussion. Kuru beautifully rips a hole in the sky on "Feast Upon The World's Dead," metallic screech and propeller slash opening the heavens to an outpouring of grinding noise before the wiry entrails of Cthulhu spill forth in tides of sonic gore. When Joy Becomes Saddness's "Learning With Nature" resonates with elasticity in every tone, including anxiously chirping sounds (birds? I'm not so sure). Post Scriptvm's "Crushing The Sleeping Flowers" is an odd piece of slipping and sliding sounds, tense synths, garbled voices (maybe), drugged voices (dripping like slowly congealing blood), and jittery tones that join in, slipping and sliding like all the rest. Axone enlighten with two masterful tracks: "Dreaming" shreds the night with sonic talons, the dreaming here a nightmare of gurgling sounds, concentrated screams from within the abyss, all above a locomotive tone that stretches to the morning and the hope of awakening. "Degeneration" gets even better, as moist blipping sounds succumb to electronics that hover and dip into oblique samples, skittering into landscapes of low hum, before ascending towards more volatile, flexing electronics, a woman sounding quite harried, nervous, skidding metallic sounds, and more. There is a trace of Schloss Tegal in the construction of this track, the mixture of viscous drones and unique samples. And then there is Bestia Centauri. Having gleefully soaked up the intensely audacious offerings of the Ubbo-Sathla CD, the two tracks here are even better! "Colours Out Of Space" erupts from my speakers, tides of crystalline tones signifying decay, sprinkled with swarms of arching, acrobatic, squiggly nuances, and an abundance of indistinguishable sounds that struggle for attention amidst the controlled chaos. The onslaught is amongst the handful of most purely Lovecraftian sonic ventures this listener has ever heard. Just listening to the manipulated electronics/electro-acoustic music, one is left in complete awe. Lovecraft is definitely laughing with gleeful satisfaction from atop his throne in the horrid cosmos of his own design, next to Yog-Sothoth and Nyarlathotep. Speaking of Nyarlathotep, the second Bestia Centuari track is an excerpt from a like-titled track, highlighting a convoluted universe as it violently expands, electronic tentacles slashing about, and featuring insolent grumbles of disapproval from Nyarlathotep itsownself, the buzzing of electronic insects, the squished cry of said insects, a section of chiming unease...and that is only what is here (as mentioned, this is an excerpt; the complete track goes even deeper into the haunted cosmos). The music is in constant motion; construction is disguised by the sheer outlandishness of the results! For those into Lovecraft, or just fascinatingly conceived electronic darkness, The Outsider - An Aural Channeling Of H. P. Lovecraft is a mandatory purchase.

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