A Journal Of The Dark Arts

Roberto Crippa – Reverse (We Can Elude Control)


Roberto Crippa conjures ominous, foreboding landscapes on his debut for We Can Elude Control.

More and more sound artists are using technology to construct otherworldly environments. This is particularly prevalent in the damned and doomed soundscapes of extreme musics like drone and doom metal, who use distortion and power chords to carve out megaliths of sound, for modern pagans to lose themselves in animal abandon.

With electronic music’s inherent ability to create alien atmospheres, with no real-world corollaries, you’d think more electronic producers would take the opportunity to create fresh and strange worlds. Thankfully, there is a rising tide of dark experimentalists who are doing precisely that.

It’s funny, Crippa’s iron oxide bassweight had me thinking of Emptyset before i realized that this came out on that duo’s We Can Elude Control imprint. Reverse features similar amorphous, ominous sound shapes to Emptyset‘s Recur, which used a similar sonic architecture to explore, and recreate, the acoustic properties of a decaying Gothic villa.



Reverse employs similar tactics, and melds them with the spectral sonic psychogeography of The Stranger’s Watching Dead Empires In Decay, and Actress’ Ghettoville, along with the primordial drum machine worship of Stephen O’ Malley‘s recent collaboration with Mika Vainio, as Aanipaa. If Italian psych-metallers Ufomammut were to construct their Snail god worship with disembodied frequencies, instead of downtuned guitars, it would sound something like Reverse.

Reverse is mighty. The bass is crushing, 1000 metric tons per square inch, and will make you feel like you’re under the weight of the ocean. Are we becoming aware of the weight of gravity well? Will this pressure simply becoming too overwhelming, until we’re forced to flee the atmosphere?

Reverse is ominous and full of dread, without ever succumbing to trite tropes, meant to imply savagery. No shrieking, no blastbeats, just an oozing, sucking menace, like on “Order” and “Spectrum”, both stand out tracks, that fit in nicely next to that Emptyset record. At its best, Crippa’s music sounds like a gargantuan, jet-black slug slurping its way out of a radioactive tar pit. It’s positively filthy, in the best possible way. A baptism in the sludge of the world…

Reverse sounds like exploring a mysterious, abandoned city, crawling into its dark heart to find the titan machines that keeps its husk alive. Ghost drones and harmonics weave in and out, sounding like ventilation shafts, over the deep resonance of subterranean chambers. Reverse also sounds like ritualistic hunting music for Morlocks, suggesting you may not be alone, in this space.

Reverse‘s reluctance towards melodies, or other aspects that make this recognizable as “music” means you can play this repetitively, losing yrself in its labyrinthine corridors, again and again, and finding something new each time.

Crippa’s sound design is impeccable, with bass frequencies being sculpted into glistening, frightening new configurations we’ve never seen or heard before. This sound design is captured and refined with flawless mixing, with colossal reverbs, that inherently suggests Giger-esque cavernous chambers.

More and more, i am seeing signs that, as a species, we are becoming interested in exploration. Of course, leaving the familiar is always terrifying proposition, but staying with things, exactly as they are, may be more terrifying still. We must face the blackness of space, the hollowness of void, to inherit our destiny, and discover new horizons.

Reverse is a hell of a dark ambient dancefloor lament configuration. It will open new worlds, in your neural pathways, leading to alien visions of crumbling worlds. Try yr best not to be afraid. But when you hear that might shlurping, oozing crawl, run for your life!

For writers who are working on stories featuring alien worlds or civilizations, seeking to conjure lost and decayed technologies and primordial Gods, this would be an excellent soundtrack for your imaginations. Similarly, this would make a good score for anyone reading Stanislaw Lem, H.P. Lovecraft, or other approximations of mankind’s inability to approach the alien sublime.

Many thanks to Jonathan Lee of Disco Insolence, for the excellent recommendation.
Got something you’d like to see reviewed on Forestpunk? We take requests. You can shoot us mail at, or drop by and leave a comment on the FB page! It might take a while, but we strive to get to everything that comes our way.

Roberto Crippa – Reverse
We Can Elude Control

3 comments on “Roberto Crippa – Reverse (We Can Elude Control)

  1. Chris Replogle
    March 21, 2016

    This is my new favorite blog. Your knowledge of this field of music and your ability to describe the indescribable is impeccable. I love this area of music and before finding this grwt blog, I was just hunting randomly or checking out artists I heard on soma.FM ‘s drone channel. Thanks for doing such a fine job bringing some exposure to sounds that are most often left in the dark.

    • forestpunk
      April 9, 2016

      Hey thanks so much! Sorry it’s taken me a moment to leave a reply. Sometimes i forget to check the comments. It’s most definitely my pleasure, and you pretty much hit the nail on the head, as far as why I’m doing this. There’s this troubling grey zone, where only big, already-popular, expensive records get covered, while absolutely no one comments on individual experimental releases. Too often, I go to find out about some new release, to only find the press snippets from online record stores like Boomkat and Norman. It’s like, “doesn’t anyone write about avant-garde music anymore?” And when people do take the time to write about more obscure styles/subjects, they are usually doing so independently, which means they might not take the time to do the work to learn how to actually write about music, or have a critical underpinning. I’m just that kind of insecure, masochistic fool who goes to extreme lengths, reading Marxist and Feminist literature at 3am to make sure my review of the new Supergirl episode is sound. I also find it unsettling how, in years prior, yesterday’s fashions and trends are discarded like garbage, as people get burned out on familiar formulas. Drone is my favorite example of this. In 2007 – 2008, it was like everyone was stoked like crazy for drone records/bands (including me). Within 6 months, it’s like the tide had turned, and people would almost be vicious if someone released a longform, contemplative record. This is like 95% of what I listen to, so I was a bit stung when it fell out of favor. These days, this idea of “one genre to rule them all” is a fool’s errand, and we all know it. We might listen to Soundcloud tracks all afternoon, then some Weimar opera over dinner, then an hour of noisy hip-hop before bed. I want to reflect all of that in my writing (and the music I make personally). I’m always digging for new sounds, and striving to hone my ears, and writing chops, to find the best music and speak about it as eloquently as possible.
      Thanks so much for the comment! It makes it all worthwhile, to know people are paying attention and getting value from what I’m doing.
      Just FYI, I’ve just started DJing a late night radio show here in Portland, which can be streamed online as well. It’s called Morningstar, on Freeform Portland, on Sunday/Monday 2 – 4am Pst, which can be streamed at I’ll be archiving the shows, as well, as soon as I figure out how to do so.
      Thanks again!

      • Sierra Stoner
        November 26, 2016

        Thanks for your response. I saw it before but didn’t have time to respond. I’m setting up a wordpress site and was changing my profile name, which is why you won’t remember this name. I noticed your reply was in my queue and remembered I never even acknowledged you.
        My favorite genre at the time might change but I can’t listen to it exclusively. Originally I started paying attention to different kinds of music because I was going to school to be an audio engineer. I wanted to be able to work with anyone. To do that, I would have to understand the sound of all the genres. Sometime in the mid 90s I started getting lots of music from newsgroups and 99% I had never heard of. I ended up liking a bunch of it and found someone in every genre that I liked or could at least could appreciate, even in genres I never cared for before. This opened me up to more new music than I ever expected.
        After doing this for years I really appreciate drone, advent garde, and experimental because I’m still surprised by some of it. It is like secret Santa or something. Putting something on and really having no clue where it will go. I feel like there is always the possibility of being blown away by someone or something I haven’t discovered before. But just blindly searching SoundCloud is tedious and I someone might have 10 songs I won’t sit through because I didn’t like the first couple. And a true gem could be buried that I will miss. The newsgroups were nice because someone liked it enough to upload it, which made for a fair filter.
        That’s why I appreciate your blog so much. Its a filter I can trust. When I’m in the mood and have the time to put on some headphones and delve into some deep audio exploration, I dont want to ruin the mood spending a lot of time hunting for something. I can rely on your reviews and tags to get me there quickly. Even if the first thing I pick from here isn’t what I want, I know it is only a few clicks away at most.
        On a side note, my current kick is drones or ambience created by modular synth. Maybe because I’m an audio engineer and musician, I appreciate the rich sound of analog modules. Wish I had the money to put one together.
        Thanks again for all the work and effort you put into this. I will be checking out your show. If you haven’t done it yet, mixcloud could be a good place to archive your shows. You would pick up listeners there to I’m sure.

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