LOCRIAN & CHRISTOPH HEEMANN – Locrian & Christoph Heemann

Handmade Birds

While Christoph Heemann (here on electronics and synth) has systematically been a key figure during this writer’s transition from post-industrial accumulator to low-frequency partisan, my conversancy with Locrian (Terence Hannum on piano, synth and vocals, Steven Hess on percussion and tapes, André Foisy on guitars, tapes and effects) is practically nada. Having read a bit about their procedures, what was expected from this collaboration corresponds more or less to what was effectively found.

The titles imply a bleakness that, upon listening, indeed represents a significant constituent in each of the four tracks. “Hecatombe” is oppressive, pulsating from the subsurface and quite massive on suppressed detonations; picture a ceremony for the supreme decline of hopefulness. Its bewitching traits are balanced by the explicit menace conveyed by the incessancy of the essential throb (which no electric guitar can shoot down) and the looping piano concomitant to it. An influential opening argument regrettably followed by the record’s nadir, “Loath The Light”. There is a simple reason for this severe opinion: I have never liked screaming in music – whatever the genre – for torment is better depicted via disturbing sounds rather than spitting pieces of lungs, namely what happens from around the seventh minute for much too long. A shame, since the remainder of the piece is interesting enough with its “abstract gloomful ambient” versus “modern-day Kosmische Kouriers” tints.

“Edgeless City” might be recounted as an “easier” chapter to the dewy-eyed, but don’t let its unassuming sonority fool you. Its slowly morphing shadiness is born from a coalescence of reconditeness and dimming lights generated – in all likelihood – by the processing of strings, either from the piano or the guitars – or both. The dominant power is once more that of a huge murmuration, which one hypothesizes as the final result of a pitch transposition towards the sub-bass neighborhood. “The Drowned Forest” features again voices, this time in a somewhat unearthly practice (Tibetan monk-style, in a way) escorted by an inharmoniously unchanging wave humming underneath, until the conclusive liquefaction. A sort of memento of how the human race keeps deluding itself with self-importance, then hopes to be saved by a couple of prayers when the end is nigh.

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