X-NAVI:ET ‎– Dead City Voice


[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]

The description of the album from Bandcamp states a lineage with Baudelaire’s symbolism of the city. The French poet was the first in literature (as far as I am aware) to proclaim the ugliness of nature’s imperfection and consequently to declare his appreciation for modern architecture and the city’s swarming life.

Rafal Iwanski is already at his fourth album, this one being the second released in vinyl by Zoharum (the design being made by the label’s manager and composer Maciej Mehring, also a member of Bisclaveret, and the artwork by Ewa Bińczyk). The Polish sound manipulator who works here under this dystopian moniker (and is also part of the exceptional group Hati) searches the means to express the modern sensibility that has acquired an aesthetic value, starting with the aforementioned damned poet.

His intention actually goes further, as his means of expression are surely wider than poetry. The introduction track, “1 + 1 = 1”, escalates a simple collage of sounds into an extravagant enclosure of old and new: siren alarms as ceremonial horns invite us to this futuristic celebration of the self. Surely it sounds like a call to prayer accentuated by percussions increasing in intensity, our homage to the brave new world. More than just intriguing, the music is intentionally provocative in the way it allies a certain sensibility to an indifferent response from the world around.

“Mutagenocidecadentia” shows images of tenderness upon alliteration and sensory alteration, backgrounded on a cabaret-like smoke-intoxicating song. You could have recurrent flashes from the absinth-flooded taverns of Toulouse Lautrec, listening to the delightful split between Blood Axis and L.J.D.L.P., “Absinthe – La Folie Verte”. Strident, thickening drones accumulate to unbearable structures on “Schism”, bringing to memory the meditative Merzbow-ian tracks in rough power noise decrepitude.

The canvas of sounds fascinates and engulfs the mind into an almost mystical/ digital hallucination. “Tinnitus Auris” has the impact of a virtual mushroom raising images of devouring comfort and alienation (suggesting more and more the occult collaboration between Merzbow and Genesis P. Orridge, “A Perfect Pain”). Linear bells are vaguely swallowed by solid drones, the whole mapped on a relentless mechanical vibration.

Objects have been devalued, humanity has been alienated, the sound seems to repossess the world in all its contemporary absurdity. And so the Garden of Eden has now become a “Garden Paradox”: the squeaking of a cradle taming the innocence of a child’s voice. The artist sets here a tribal folkstorm (akin to the afro-flavored Cut Hands) disturbed by the menacing droning support and further adorned by digital gaming noises, the surrounding acoustics of our newborn. Blood replaced by games and games by computers, the same urge for conquering a place in the Garden of Earthly Delights.

“Luna 369 Park” , even if it clearly reminds us of the soundtrack made by Lustmord and Robert Rich for Stalker, through its practically genuine extraterrestrial acoustics is more a rewriting of Solaris made by the SF poet Stanislaw Lem. Brilliant in its elegant and soothing musicality, it becomes oppressive only by means of its alien origins, because the human mind needs to access the necessary frequencies in order to accept this tune, and let it inhabit all the orifices left.

You can find all the record’s data on the project’s Bandcamp and realize you’re faced with a truly mesmerizing artifact of future music. Walk along the navicon city and learn how to listen to its voice as still in our present and future as in the past . “La vie fourmille de monstres innocents” (Life is swarming with innocent monsters) – Baudelaire, Spleen de Paris.

‎– Dead City Voice
Zoharum, ZOHAR 053-1 LP / Eter, eter 15v
LP/Digital 2013


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