[Reviewed by Vitriol]
Aseptic Void is the latest signing by digital label Cryo Chamber, that is rapidly establishing its position as one of the best dark ambient labels in the field. So of course after so many great releases and interesting new artists, the bar is set very high for the Italian musician behind the Aseptic Void moniker, Davide T. The project was started in 2009 and focuses on soundtrack-styled music with an aim to cause a lasting psychological effect on the listener. The legendary horror icon Dario Argento naturally comes to mind when the phrases ‘dark soundtracks’ and ‘psychological effect’ coexist in the same sentence, especially when we discuss them in referral to an Italian artist. So does “Psychosis” resemble at all, Dario Argento’s anxiously demented escapades into a surreal world of danger, terror and most of all, grotesqueness? The answer is yes and no. For we can find terror here, and certainly danger and dementia. There is even a hint of the immediacy and somewhat symbolic use of imagery in Argento’s films. The concept is simple, direct and offers no inkling of a happy ending.
On the other hand the delivery and atmosphere are much more subtle, evidently influenced by dark ambient artists such as Atrium Carceri, some of Nordvargr’s works and even Profane Grace, A Murder Of Angels and Aghast. Classic horror aesthetics affect the spirit and subject matter of this recording, but do not set its tone. No sense of the grotesque or the absurd deducts from the album’s impact. Everything is absolutely serious, and absolutely hopeless. No nerve-wracking crescendoes or escalations here, just a series of flatlined, corroding ambient noise sequences disrupted by a variety of samples and haunting organic sounds. The fact that noise is the main element on which the musician builds his compositions is a pleasant surprise, as it works beautifully towards the painting of this image of insanity, filth, torture and fear – the image of the prison that the psychotic has created for himself.
The first track, “Contagion”, running about 12 minutes long and for the most part devoid of musicality, is an effective entrance into the caverns of this delusional mind. Malevolent whispers, semi-organic electronics, repetitive drones and ghostly, underground winds evoke a diseased, frozen landscape. “Soliloquy”, perhaps the most horrific track of the album, really sets an example on how to scare someone to death using just a black frame, and the appropriate music in the background. Demonic voices recorded backwards attacking the listener from all directions, disturbing sounds put together in bundles, and an eerie melody like a broken music box held by the ghost of a murdered infant. Its cut-up method of composition shows considerable skill on the musician’s part, and continues to the next track, “Spasm” – although admittedly “Soliloquy” is hard to beat, yet this is still a very interesting track, more minimal and atmospheric than the previous one, and giving a sense of spatial expansion, as the voices, screams and sounds also come from a distance. There’s a thumping sound as if someone’s knocking on the door, someone you know you don’t want to let in.
In “Movement” something more concrete, more menacing is presented. The footsteps come closer, the background sounds converge, and its piercing, melodic dark ambient sequence seems almost metaphysical in the light of the previous tracks. The stranger has been allowed entrance, and continues to approach as the next track, “Psychosis” begins. The delusion has taken over. And we move from Dario Argento to early David Cronenberg, as the track is characterized by droning electronics of a slightly psychedelic nature, looping and reverberating their metallic echoes in a spastic, empty environment. A rhythmic heartbeat serves as a constant while the musician layers more industrial elements in the track. Lacking the previous tracks’ almost impenetrable sense of volume, it allows the listener a little room to breathe. “Canto” is the most low-tempo track of the whole album, containing only some subtle drones and the trademark footsteps. A female voice sample takes us to the finale, “Missing”. As indicated by the hellish footsteps present in most of the album, the main character was finally swallowed by the maze he was trying to escape from.
“Psychosis” is a journey in the fears and hallucinations of a deranged mind, stamped with a questionmark as to whether any of this is real, and whether or not we can find the exit sign. The choking darkness of this recording is insidious and implied, it sneaks up on you like the proverbial evil spirit or axe-murderer – its aim being not to shock you into a frozen state of forced attention, but to slowly drag you down into an underground trap of neverending terror. The more you listen, the deeper you get, the more difficult it becomes to find your way out. In this perverse labyrinth your worst enemy is yourself, the most hideous tortures are the result of your own fears and nightmares. Are you still in the tunnel or safely strapped on your bed, in a white panelled room where time stands still? You’ll never know.
One of the darkest offerings of Cryo Chamber to date, and a thoroughly enjoyable horror ambient recording. Definitely give it a shot.