Peculiarly, the lone artist I didn’t know prior to Pleasure-Voltage was the project leader, Benjamin Finger from Norway. The variegated influences defining his career are thoroughly reflected in this album, which sees him in excellent company. James Plotkin has always been an important presence in my drone-pursuing activities; if you still don’t own stuff like Mosquito Dream (with Brent Gutzeit) or A Peripheral Blur (with Mark Spybey), you haven’t lived yet. Mia Zabelka – whose CV is impressive to begin with – was last featured in these pages in 2017, thanks to the lovely Cellular Resonance. So there was a mixture of salivation and curiosity when I read about this cooperation.
Although the title might suggest some sort of electrically-induced masochistic gratification to a particularly twisted brain, the actuality reveals two 20-minute sides of music oscillating between a garbled representation of (un)reality and a latent melodicism attempting to emerge in spots. However, the strongest component is called “intensity”. The subsonic territory is inhabited by ferocious entities, their favorite hobby being saturating ears and increasing the pressure inside one’s chest until any residue of oxygen is expelled. Periodically emerging humming/chanting voices and piano-driven melodies are left alone for a short while before disappearing; or else, they get subjected to an oceanic processing. Those currents are full of muffled techno pulses, echoing guitars on the verge of an ovedriven implosion, violins lost in a forlorn neighborhood, acrid synthetic matters that Lucifer wouldn’t touch. This apparently chaotic wholeness retains a distinct harmonic aura throughout; the lingering sensation is that of pestilential industrial emissions gradually turning into a scent of poppies.
Not an epochal masterpiece but definitely a sleeper that won’t let us sleep, even following its complete absorption. The itch of discovering supplemental details in the mix will ultimately prevail, the harsh exhalations suddenly perceived as necessary for another deletion of mundane issues.