Posts Tagged ‘Lustmord’

Tartarus Records – 28th May 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Then a release comes pitched as ‘FFO Gnaw their Tongues, Lustmord, Haxan Cloak, etc’, you know it’s going to be pretty fucking gnarly and pretty fucking heavy, not to mention dark. The band describe themselves as ‘a vessel of auditory violence whose sole purpose is to exist in this place and moment in time. It is an overwhelming form of aural terror conveyed through primal and mechanical means, conjoining visceral matter of an organic origin with that of an abiotic one. These together fabricate an entity focused on the seething aspects of interminable dread and the humiliation of flesh’. Holy fuck. I’m simultaneously quaking and on the edge of my seat for this.

I’m not entirely sure what ‘larynge’ is, and even the Internet has been of minimal assistance, and the connotations of ‘golden dirges’ in my mind says probably more about me than a band whose name in the current climate makes me think of blood clots. In other words, none of the prefatory encounter is anything but bleak in the way it sets expectations for the album, and Golden Dirges, Molten Larynges is, indeed, a challenging work.

It’s harsh, it’s noisy, it’s hellish, a purgatorial racket that combines extraneous noise, guttural snarls, and ritual beats. It’s fucking nasty, the soundtrack to the most torturous horror imaginable. Imagine being skinned alive and flayed with torches as flames rise all around, and you’re being watched by razor-toothed beasts, pale, emaciated, and brutal, s pat of the most gruesome ritual you can conceive. Your eyes are stretched open and you’re forced to watch your own chest being torn open and your ribcage prised apart as your exposed heart quivers and pulsates in its cavity. Your halfway to experiencing Golden Dirges, Molten Larynges.

Harsh blasts of noise surge like a tide at the start of ‘Devour their Bodies Saturated with Brine’, before an explosion of demonic noise simply shreds everything as the ritual ceremony builds to its most brutal climax as chthonic entities revel in the bloodshed.

And there is absolutely no respite, no retreat, no light. Most of the tracks are under five minutes, but they each feel like an eternity. ‘Our Torches Soaked in Oil’ conjures a descent into an abyss both in title and sonically, but the clunking percussion, cutting through a dank morass of swirling noise is disconcerting, before the vortex of dark noise yields to a spitting demon spewing venom from an unexpectedly gentle piano. It’s but a brief respite before the industrial churn of ‘Rattling Mutter’ brings a wall of noise and anguish that redefined punishing.

Golden Dirges, Molten Larynges is a different kind of heavy: it’s certainly not metal, and nor is it industrial or power electronics. It’s also blacker than black. This is beyond. It’s

the sound of the earth being pulled apart – not by horses, but by Satan’s slaves. It’s like being dragged by barbed hooks buried into the chest and back over rough terrain if burning coals. It is all the torture, all the pain, the soundtrack to the catalogue listing of atrocities that make up the second half of 120 Days of Sodom. As the gut-hammering percussion resonates against a grumble of anguished muttering and screaming agonies on ‘A Thicket of Abrasions and Broken Wounds’, it becomes fully apparent the sheer extent of this album’s relentless abrasion and its capacity to plunder previously unseen depths. There is no preparation for this: it redefines torture.

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Lustmord + Nicholas Horvath – The Fall / Dennis Johnson’s November Deconstructed

Sub Rosa – 20th November 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

According to the press release and liner notes, The Fall is a deconstruction of November by Dennis Johnson. My knowledge of the source material is limited to the same, which explain that November was written for solo piano in 1959, and is the first example of minimalist music composition – and that it was also the inspiration for La Monte Young’s The Well-Tuned Piano (1964). This may or may not be useful information, as may or may not be the fact that this collaborative effort strives to ‘reduce Johnson’s original November to its core element and place it in a landscape of complimentary sound. And as such ‘echo’s [sic] November but with further resonance’.

It’s a sixty-six minute work split into four segments numbered I through IV, with classical pianist Nicolas Horvath playing the piano parts, while Lustmord brings the atmospherics. How that translates is that the album’s first piece is a full twenty minutes of instrumental piano work, played slowly and delicately, with an acre between each note as it drops and hangs in the air against a backdrop of a fierce gale that buffets against a microphone. If you’ve ever tied speaking to someone on their mobile phone on a windy day, you’ll be aware of how the gusting air’s buffeting creates a sense of disturbance, an interference. Around the midway point, the disturbance shifts from being breeze-like to a deep, surging groundswell, something dark and resonant, an amorphous sound that rumbles and expands, then fades and returns in waves, ebbing and flowing slowly, and all the while, the sparse piano plays on.

And that is pretty much it: slow, deliberate piano – individual notes, struck a bar apart – and a distant rumbling backdrop that fills the empty space, sometimes barely, leaving little but empty air, others more densely, a wash of sound filling the air with levels of abstraction. At times, like rumbles of thunder, and others, like unsettling fear chords and an ominous vibe, but never anything concrete or tangible.

It isn’t much to go on, and while it is atmospheric and intriguing, it’s not entirely enthralling either, and I suspect the same is likely true of the original, a work that’s more concerned with concept than reception – something that can be done, and so is done, and example of avant-gardism promoting the project for its own ends rather than a something to necessarily be appreciated. There are things to appreciate, as it happens: The fall counterpoints ominous and graceful nicely, while also paying tribute to and raising awareness of a seminal work that’s been largely forgotten, eclipsed by other works by other composers, with Dennis Johnson’s renown falling far short of the likes of John Cage and Philip Glass. And on that basis, and on the basis of the original work’s true significance, this is worth tuning into.

AA

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