A Journal Of The Dark Arts
If there is one thing that listening to a swathe of modern electronic music, it is a yearning for immensity, deep cylindrical reverbs that make bass sound three miles wide. Electronic music is fulfilling its promise as architects-of-the-never-was, proper sci-fi futurism. From Fuck Buttons to Emptyset to Leyland Kirby‘s recent output as The Stranger, these producers are creating vast, mechanical landscapes to explore and get lost in.
Although a lot of reviewers seem to have taken this as a harrowing listening experience, it seems to me that Peder Mannersfelt is more at home in these echoing halls than a lot of other dystopians – his bassweight is not quite as ominous as either Raime or The Haxan Cloak, a little mellower, backed off a little bit. This is more sci-fi than cosmic horror. We’ve got our pressure suits on, which means we can explore the terrain a little bit.
The thing i take away most from listening to Lines Describing A Circle is that these days, neither analog or digital alone is good enough. We all yearn for the rough edges and spaciousness of real equipment, but listening to too much ‘outsider techno’ and you will get tired of the flat, compressed, plastic sound of the straight-to-tape axiom. You will begin to lust for the HD hugeness of legit, epic productions. Listen to too much glossy pop, and it starts to roll of yr back like oily water off of a duck.
Instead, Mannerfelt takes the perfect poise and precision of techno execution and layers with arcing electricity and humming feedback – the electric singing body. It furthers the sensation of walking through a factory, with sparking machines all around you. Truly industrial music, for industrial people; to make music of the noisy world around us. I believe i called this ferric bass, when discussing the Emptyset record, and it shows a way out of the Digital Void, back to the real. The best of all worlds.
I knew nothing of Mannersfelt’s background as The Subliminal Kid,
producer of Fever Ray and maker of Techno, but it makes sense, with how every hit of the beat, every sample, is perfectly placed. THIS is the way through the void – care, craftsmanship. QUALITY. Mastery. What it means is that we have the unlimited imagination of modern production, with the warmth and soul of the classic.
I also knew nothing of his involvement with Roll The Dice, but i was detecting the presence of Dub Techno, and its use of space and echoes (turns out this record was mastered by Pole‘s Stefan Betke. What we have here is a Rhythm & Sound Record for Dark Ambient lovers – “See Mi Yah” playing in one of Lustmord’s concrete cathedrals.
Here’s a few words from Digitalis, on the matter:
‘Lines Describing Circles’ displays the sound of a man fully in control of his machines. Throughout the album, though, there are respites: the title track settles into a hypnotic groove while a simple, infectious melody repeating into darkness, while “In Place Of Once Was” has a melody lurking, too, but it’s constantly overwhelmed by sub-bass nihilism.
“Gulo Gulo Caesitas” is the pinnacle of the firestorm: cacophonous beats pummel you into submission while feedback and seemingly endless layers of aural mayhem pour down like sonic acid rain.
As the computerised voice repeats “Barren” over and over on “Evening Redness In The West” there is no horizon left to long for. Peder Mannerfelt’s transformation complete, he is off to find new trails to blaze as the melancholic pads of “Rotterdam Anagram” are obscured by distorted filth.
With that Prostitutes’ record i wrote about a while back, Digitalis are expanding their borders, from kings of psych-scuzz to fine purveyors of experimental Techno.
Peder Mannerfelt’s furthering the cause of good electronic music. His beats pummel in all the right ways – his synths tickle and cajole. It’s a body high and a full-borne hallucination, a strange gray world, full of rusty debris. There’s no need to be afraid.