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:: Tuesday, December 01, 2009 ::

Album Reviews: Kush Arora, Nommo Ogo & Imminent

Imminent – Cask Strength (ant-zen)

Let me start by stating that Imminent (née Imminent Starvation) has a strange effect on me. You’ll have to bear with me a moment here. There was a recurring dream I used to have as a child, involving contrasting changes in scale between the micro and macro. What would it be like if I were shrunken to the size of an ant? (This was long before a film franchise was based on this premise) Or an ant increased to a scale towering over a human? (Also long before I had seen b-movie classic Them!) Or if these changes could be zoomed in and out with the ease of a camera lens? Why do I lose all concentration when I try to recall this dream, especially as it often comes back vividly to me when I am climbing the rough Victorian stonework of the façade of my primary school? Why do I always fall from the wall when I remember the dream? And what’s that strange droning sound I associate with it?

The last question wasn’t quite answered, but came flooding back to me, when I first heard Imminent Starvation’s Strass on the Ant.Colony compilation. The flashback returned for the first time in years, but still as vivid as ever. The distorted looping rhythms that I now realise I can trace back to this dream are quite possibly what drives, and always has driven, my love of industrial music and complex aural textures.

I dip in and out of this sort of music as, like many other styles, can be produced relatively easily and there’s a lot of noise out there that the signal needs to be filtered from. When done properly it is a finely crafted article indeed. And that is exactly what this release represents.

Imminent has been maturing this album for a long time. As a whisky connoisseur he has applied the same principles to his music as a master brewer applies to his favoured tipple. The sumptuous laser cut wooden packaging every bit as carefully considered and lovingly crafted as the sounds contained therein.

Cask Strength is out now on ant.zen, distributed by Ad Noiseam [mp3 samples included on site]

Nommo Ogo – Across Time and Space (Record Label Records)

Nommo Ogo claim to have emerged from the "mid '90's Alaskan psychedelic noise underground" and from listening to this I can believe it. Created by a group of musicians surrounded by hardware this is the sound of ethereal electronic music. To be enjoyed in open woodland or huge dimly lit cathedral spaces as readily as it should be endured in claustrophobic reverberant caverns, crushing in on you from all sides.

Drawing musical comparisons is difficult but elements of Krautrock and shades of early Autechre are evident, along with many other new and interesting things, pulled from the writing guts of the machinery and controlled by new human masters. The simultaneously ominously haunting yet enchantingly beautiful soundscapes form the aural equivalent of a Brother’s Grimm fairy tale.

You may be getting the impression that I quite like this. And you would be completely right. I can see this album sitting near the top of the play list for sometime.

Across Time and Space is released on RLR on 14 Jan 2010

Kush Arora – Boiling Over (Record Label Records)

Unashamedly a dub-step album I have to put aside my casual indifference to the genre as I listen to this. The tracks where Kush’s ambient background are allowed to shine through are the richer for it but the UK Garage 2-step rhythms fail to grab my attention as much as they do elsewhere. The genre is clearly still developing and evolving, which can only be a good thing.

Although this falls towards the darker side of the 'step it doesn't have the post-industrial grit of the likes of Vex'd or most of the Combat crew. Although I am sure there is plenty in here for fans of the 12" series these works have been collected from it doesn’t, for me at least, stand out in any way.

Boiling over is released on RLR on 14 Jan 2010


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