[Chrönique] V/A – Анатомический атлас – Compilation – 2016.

UIS

Industrial/drone/dark ambient/experimental

Cassette



This compilation from the Russian label UIS is thematically built around the works of progressive physicians, scientists, and philosophers during the periods of the European Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment. Maintaining this approach across nine varied yet focussed tracks was always going to be a difficult task but one thats success is reflected in the choice of track titles (De humani corporis fabrica referencing Andreas Vesalius’s influential book of the same name for example), artwork (the apparently scientific flaying of a pig) and, most vitally, the sonic cuts on display. That each musical effort is imbued with the experimental yet scientific rigour of the surgeons and anatomists of this era is testament to the label’s – UIS – commitment to the cause.

Анатомический атлас, which translates into English as Anatomical Atlas, begins with the oscillating drones of Invisible Slavery vibrating against one another as if they were anxious heartbeats feeling out the next rhythm with a trepidation gored through with shards of icy and mechanical lustre. Clandestine experiments carried out by candlelights are brought to mind. Buried away in basements where the threat of death hangs over both patient and practitioner. This is then followed by hulking great slabs of electronics that force their way out of the speakers during the menacing stomp that is Carved Image of Emptiness’s Atra Bilis. A single-minded and ruinous series of shrieks that flatten all within its unhinged path.

Gnawed then step up to the plate with the sort of colossal and sheer wall of rising noise that wouldn’t be out of place on a recent Kerridge release. Low end static is punctuated by ferocious paranoid interruptions that do ever so little to comfort and instead sound like hateful deities terraforming a previously habitable planet. The looming sense of dread that drives throughout this release does not ease off with RAjFAjH whose bubbling rhythms seem molten and viscous rather than sprightly and lithe. It’s a thick dirge that is occasionally lanced with specks of light before smothering and suffocating any hope. All spirit resoundingly comminuted.

Воронмрак appear almost cheerful by comparison as looped speech flits in and out of sombre synthesisers. That the audible exhalation which ends the sample could be construed as either a laugh or a desperate sob is a tribute to the ambiguous nature of this tracks intent.

ﺎﻣﺖ ﺍﻟﺳﺎﻋﺔ/The Time fittingly waste none before instilling a sense of eerie yet industrial intrigue. Vocals appear like the whispered dreams of the hopeless and condemned. With engineering, in this instant, clashing so savagely with perceived humanity, it really helps to cement the themes central to this mixtape – science, technology, medical and philosophical understanding overrunning the traditional and archaic ideas of religion and human nature.

Grave Abyss by Zinc Room strides further still from any glimpses of mortality as machinery pummels and obliterates any sense of religious fervour like bulldozers and pneumatic drills feverishly tearing down a house of worship in the midst of a solemn funeral march. And if Zinc Room were in charge of the execution then Evilnox are delivering the eulogy. Forlornly uplifting we hear nothing but despair in their portentous tones.

The final track comes from KRRAU & Σολομών and begins as a spiritual treatise although this rapidly descends into a a series of demented and sporadic clashes between erratic percussion and molested piano keys. All of the while choral exclamations try their damnedest to wring a semblance of sense and logic to proceedings. A fitting finale to an ode to a time long lost to us as we spiral away from fact and into endless, empty rhetoric.

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J.B.

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