The pair didn’t really play together in this particular circumstance, but the results of this long distance collaboration (which, absurdly, had been waiting for a label willing to publish them for years) are quite extraordinary. The essential core of the music is born from Wastell’s 32-inch tam-tam, which we have come to madly love over the last decade thanks to a fundamental sequence of consciousness-expanding albums. The pre-recorded sounds were sent to Marhaug for further treatments and, as per the cover definition, “compositional structure”. This is exactly what the Norwegian did, channelling the imposing resonance of the gong efficiently yet letting it spread, ricochet and overwhelm through the large part of the piece. At the same time, he added touches of electronics, occasional subliminal rhythms and a startling shock around the 16th minute, where the mental lull we were experiencing after an extended droning stretch is abruptly cut by a “brzzzaapppff” that for a moment raised the doubt of an electric discharge cutting the playback off. Not so: following a few interminable seconds of silence the ritual starts again, and it is there that we can appreciate the work that Marhaug put in, transforming a reverberating metal object into something that throbs like the heart of a cybernetic creature, still pumping copious doses of authentic blood inside our auricular membranes. That such a kind of nearly religious experience was generated by a mad mod and a Northern noise-monger confirms that heaven and hell are very close, and that one needs to see them both before deciding what’s best. And I’m quite sure that nobody will ever be caught shouting “bell boy!” at Wastell.

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