the project of Maryland's sound designer Nathan Michael,
was devoted to
glitchy electronic post-rock based on piano and guitar manipulations.
The project debuted with the massive 35-minute post-doom expressionist
nightmare of Aphotic Leech (Utech, 2007). Marimba and piano intone
a simple duet, but suspense is created by an ugly vibrating drone in the
background. As if intimidated, the instruments stop playing and we mostly
hear glitchy noises in an eerie vacuum. Cryptic crackling drones seep through
the warped spacetime. It is just a matter of time before they give birth to
a monster riff. Only the ending is disappointing: a return to calm and
silence, perhaps a metaphor for a confused, chaotic race that is destined
A more laid-back mood permeates L'Anse Amort (20 Buck Spin, 2007),
whose four pieces, based on minimalist repetition, are
set in an unstable but fundamentally more humane noisescape.
The slow, enchanted progression of the 17-minute The Whale's Heart
picks up debris along the way, and one can feel the tension increasing,
setting the stage for the gritty guitar riff that rips the repetitive
Oblivion mostly toys with ocean sounds.
L'Anse Amort is the piece de resistance:
soothing new-age music followed by a stormy guitar eruption followed by
a serene sunny tide (of strings and piano).
The four-movement drone-based requiem for humankind
Omen (Profound Lore, 2008) highlighted the
meditational aspect of Michael's music.
The first movement begans with a dark cycling drones, but then opens up with
a tender guitar melody that keeps growing but then morphs into an ugly think
drone littered with terrifying explosions before returning to the guitar-only
atmosphere of the beginning.
The second movement pits a booming bass drone against a mounting background hiss; the
collision hatches a fluttering pattern that, again, implodes into an apocalyptic
vision of detonations and disintegration.
The third movement picks up that pathos and sends it to a higher orbit, turning a
piano sonata into an anguished galactic drone.
The tone is funereal as the fourth movement begins expanding its repetitive
pattern. The music eventually dies out, a piano strumming a few notes in an
empty room, nothing much left to talk about.
All of them were produced by James Plotkin.
Convinced that the end of the world will be coming in 2011, Michael stopped recording music.
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