A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Lucifer Efekt is the most recent installment on what is fast becoming one of our favorite imprints, Gnod’s Tesla Tapes. It is a smoky, murky, hypnotic blend of disembodied vocals and churning, “poisonous electronics”, from two members of the Czech underground, Head in Body (also in Lightning Glove, RUiNU) and Miss Camilla – both on synths, voices, and other electronics. They rarely play live, and focus on creating these monochromatic transmissions from the other side.
Lucifer Efekt kicks off with “Efekt”, full of swooning, growling, binaural synths pulse and breathe around yr ears, while knocking dub rhythms skitter around like chitinous wind-up scarabs, and Miss Camilla mutters morosely like a medium possessed through an echoplex – echoes of Throbbing Gristle and Wolf Eyes.
The process coagulates with “Secret Turned Revulsion”, as a lopsided, evolving beat presents itself, as woozy new age synths give these events an abalone grow, and Camilla pours out her secrets.
“Crescending Glitter” is back to being disembodied, as the synths arc like Jacob’s ladder, before a solid but simple dub riddim comes in, to give this intergalactic manowar an exoskeleton. It is like wandering through some dilapidated space station, with frayed and hanging power cords spark and hiss, then getting suited for a zero gravity mission. It’s a holding pattern, and a breakout. “Crescending Glitter” is also the most “dub techno” outing on here, so far, that is highly recommended for the fans of Stefan Betke‘s Pole project, or the sparser end of Basic Channel.
There is a subdued wildness to “Crazy = Black”; there is a feeling, when listening to Lucifer Efekt, of a slow-building frenzy; it’s held back, and restrained, but feral and heartfelt. This is the heart of a martial artist – pause and then strike, that comes as much-needed relief for the sometimes obvious and formulaic pleasures of electronic music. Sister/Body‘s body blows are minimalist but well placed, letting every soothing, pummeling kick hit in all the right places, with plenty of room to breathe, as every jagged, rusty hi-hat is used to its maximum slice-n-dice potential.
Lastly, “Evol Of Lluf” takes us fully to the other side, dropping us in the Black Lodge for a machine seance – infinity captured and coded onto circuit boards, as backwards masked vocals rise and fall like regret, like memories of the dead.
Lucifer Efekt is a ritual, with these two sonic magicians huddled around their machines like ouija boards, wielding their synths like divining rods to suss out the currents of desire, of melancholy and celebration running through the collective unconscious.
I personally am delighted to see S/B (and their affiliated projects, who i can’t wait to dive into fully), exploring this angle, as i feel that the ritualistic, meditative potential of synthesizers, drum machines and looped samples is underutilized. Repetitive sounds have been used since the beginning of time to produce an altered state of consciousness, and drum circles and chanting are some of the staples of the pagan celebration. When you listen to electronic music, you are listening to loopy, hypnosis-inducing repetition for hours out of yr day, while synths use sine waves to produce binaural theta trance in the hemispheres of our brains, producing deep trance, perhaps without us even being aware of it.
Sister/Body, and a handful of other artists that i write about on these pages, are saving electronic music. We are swarmed and drowning in possibilities, with the simplest digital recording technology having nearly unlimited potential, which is actually damaging to the creativity. It’s up to us to pick the best sounds, to place them exquisitely, to use every tool to maximum efficacy. This is the way through the confusion – the blending of the electronic and the spirit.
And i am happy to report, for at least this humble scribe, this prolonged ritual seems to be working. In the last 6 months or so, when i’ve been getting heavily into handmade techno, i am coming to understand music on a much deeper level than ever before, and i am finally starting to be happy with some of my own productions. They are teaching me to focus and to pay attention, to glory in the details, to break even down to the barest essentials, and then build the most glorious cathedrals.
This is a perfect record, that you can listen to over and over again. Comes with the highest possible recommendation, and you’d be advised to spend some time on Tesla Tapes bandcamp pages, as there is much to surprise and delight.