[reviewed by Iaha Crax]
The first two collaborations between Merzbow and Nordvargr under the name “Partikel” were mainly harsh explorations on noise walls and clinical industrial ambient. For those familiarized with them the expectations for the new record (released by Cold Spring) may have been centered around another monolithic, harsh electronics record expanding the limits of pictographic noise even further. Surprisingly enough, and first of all even disconcertingly, the artists start brushing their heretical colors in an unexpected manner.
The first track, “Heterotic String Hybrid”, presents us with chill electronic beeps that render a holographic dance floor where floating cyborgs seem to keep up with a machinistic rhythm. It’s characteristic of Nordvargr’s attempts to redefine a more acidic Kraftwerk style, already drawn on the geometrically patterned songs from “I End Forever”. Here the virtual articulations of a robotic design tend towards technological decomposition, and further reshape into mere sound structures, thus making up an erotically appealing hybrid between computer insensitivity and arousal-driven sounds. To what extent is the track created based on the physics theory in the title’s name, only a professional may conclude.
“Lorentz Covariance” takes off from the same biotech sounds articulated on static beeps. Chord sounds symmetrically increase and decrease, emerging from the simulated echoes of a virtual space and then collapsing in alien-buzzes that finally reach a deep, unbearably eerie texture. Just when you think the piece is over, unexpected feedbacks and tribal loops regain the framework of a strange shapeless dance. The track is genially structured and composed in such a homogeneous form that only high-placed artists could reach. And even the title track (a physics concept) speaks of the search for symmetry and homogeneity regardless of space/ time limitations.
The first part of “Submaton Color” is built on a down-tuned artillery pattern made from a clear buzzing effect and nuanced with siren-like polytonal hissings that give birth to a spectacular vista on an unimaginable scale. The song creates a feeling of a menacing yet miraculous outer planet view, with the power of progressively altering human senses. Suddenly you experience a sense of a déjà vu of some bruitisme sonore reshaped with a euphemistic approach of the strangest beauty. The track is compelling in its power to plunge the mind into a state of complete stupefaction, as if you were wandering the Lovecraftian colossal mountains of madness. You uncontrollably feel that this shiver may never end and still it does, in a trembling, hardly imaginable catharsis for aliens.
The end is prolonged on part II, that delicately transposes you in the already changed state. Here it seems as if your now purged psyche is eager to manifest the newly attained abilities. An unknown cognitional milieu opens to your bewilderment. Sounds pulsate acrobatically and determine a thrilling sense of fear for the possibility of failing to integrate into this other universe – and to remain there as another. Fresh outer-earth parallax sounds explode into a choir-like noise concerto, streaming a theme of yet to be discovered extraterrestrial folk magic.
With the first two tracks Nordvargr, as he is the main contributor, is further inspired by theoretical physics and its applications in sound manipulation and so he seems to take the road of cerebral composers such as Xenakis. As for the other two, Masami Akita has crafted a sonic landscape that proves his ingenuity once again. This three-chapter musical discourse is still little susceptible to analysis; such was the potency of the music and in particular the mastery of compliance between sound, thematic and cinematic aspects. We are able to fully appreciate them only in its effects and rest in amazement with an urge for more.