CD, Spectraliquid, 2007
Spectraliquid, a relative newcomer among independent record labels, presents Konkrete, their first sampler, showcasing artists with a taste for dark ambient sounds that fit their “exploring underground innovative art/music” manifesto. Overall, I find the name of the record somewhat misleading: I would have far rather named this collection “mammalian” or some such, owing to the vast majority of organic sound generation. In fact, “humanoid” may be an even better name – the melodies are delicate, frail flesh enfolding a steel skeletal structure, the whole rusted and scarred with intense, overpowering emotive content that at times appears entirely irrational. Perhaps, in this light, even “android” or “replicant” may be closer to the mark.
Nomenclature aside, Konkrete is more a product of synthesis than analysis; something creative and unconstrained, a spurt of biological growth wherein everything falls naturally into place instead of being forced into mechanical patterns that limp awkwardly across landscapes of soaring, hymnal atmospheric effects. This selection is smooth, fluid sailing in comparison, the occasional distorted bump in the road providing in-journey excitement that supplements the mood, rather than replacing or worse, suppressing it.
It’s difficult to pinpoint highlights on the recording: in fact, most tracks build upon and complement one another, a rare occurrence on compilation albums. Throttler and Track Killer’s “Against the Machine” is noteworthy for its breakcore-inspired, abstract drum lines, while Mobthrow’s “Deathstep” and Ah Cama-Sotz’ “Depth Charge” deliver a slightly harder edge to the proceedings. Personally, I found the vocals on Subheim’s “Howl” gorgeously evocative, and the piano melody on Detritus’ “Lead Balloons” particularly sensitive and stirring.
In summation: an intellectual collection of some inspirational mood music, well worth listening to, that suggests a promising future for Spectraliquid.
— David vander Merwe