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Chaos As Shelter – Dawn Syndrome

Chaos As Shelter - Dawn Syndrome

CD, Topheth Prophet, 2005

“Dawn Syndrome” was recorded in 2001 and not released until 2005, on Israeli label Topheth Prophet, and appears to have only just arrived here for review two years late, suggesting the label were unaware of Connexion Bizarre and that their compatriots Chaos As Shelter have not produced a new album since. Nevertheless, a good album should be timeless and, having enjoyed a couple of decent compilation tracks by this dark ambient act some years ago, I was eager to discover how their more recent efforts had progressed. With no press material to accompany the disc and minimal orange and green artwork displaying just a stylised sunrise, only the song titles really hint at a possible theme behind the album, the unfortunate Middle East crisis being the first subject to spring to mind given the nationality of Chaos As Shelter. The inlay states the album is “Dedicated to the end of Kali Yuga”, being the Hindu Age of Darkness, a surprising religious reference although one which could still refer to any number of conflicts in the modern world.
The opening two pieces “Before The Dawn” and “Awakening” comprise a good pair of tracks are very effective in reflecting their titles, with subtle bells and chimes creating a weary and foreboding feel. “Borders” is a curious follow-up, featuring a found recording of a certain Isaac Goldfield singing in 1950, presumably in Hebrew, whose charmingly amateur tones, together with the crackle of vinyl, produce a worrying sense of vulnerability. “Whirling” is appropriately demonstrated with the sound of some kind of spinning metal object, rotating randomly under very tense and mystical washes of synthesiser; one of the more supernatural sounding periods of the album. Track five, “Watch Tower”, catches the attention skilfully with a tragic Renaissance sounding string section, before disturbing clanking and rattling noises take over giving the listener uneasy sensations not completely unlike that of being under surveillance.
Faint melodies continue in the sixth track, “Now Comes The Prisoner”, with dripping sounds suggesting a dungeon setting and the mournful voice of guest singer Helena Dorsht possibly lamenting the demise of the prisoner in question. An ominously vague rhythm drives “Kam Jorra” along threateningly with a sick, chanting voice adding an extra level of menace. The final track of the main part of the album, “Break Dance”, is thankfully nothing to do with hip hop music, and everything to do with breaking things! The exciting sounds of glass being smashed either inspire the destructive urge or alternatively give distressing images of evictions and dispersals. Finally, “Glass Watchers” is inexplicably classed as a bonus track, but fits the rest of the album perfectly and brings things to a fitting close with some strong drones, unsettling metallic and aqueous sounds and an accordion played roughly and malevolently before yet more smashing of glass!


— Nathan Clemence

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