[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
When dealing with film scores, the skill of the composer at capturing the mood and setting of the film is imperative. You must be able to visualize not only the people and events but also have insight into why they’ve done or are doing what they do. Thoughts are difficult to pin down, motives are even trickier; Vindicatrix accomplish all of the above throughout the very short length of this release. Thirty-two minutes and some change is the sum of ‘Ruin Value’ but the potency is unquestionable. Through the disorientating narratives (courtesy of Iain Sinclair and Martin Mueller) we go, with no real sense of why we’re here but I have a suspicion that it’s to do with what the title of this cassette references.
The value of ruin.
To those who must exist within it, ruin only serves to remind them of what once was… the memories of yore, the intrigues of a younger life and the bonds of family lying therein. There’s much you can learn from silence and ruins make no attempts to stand out, they simply are there. The results speak for themselves, as is so often said. For those who had a hand in unleashing ruin upon the landscape its an entirely different concept; more than anything it is a display of power. A symbol of might, one group triumphing over another for the simplest of reasons: because they can. Oh there may have been logic behind the campaign to begin with but once blood has been drawn it no longer matters why decimation is occurring. Destruction is all that matters, to leave not even one stone on top of another; salt the Earth and lay waste to the enemy.
Ah but who is that enemy… it is here that Vindicatrix’s musical style serves the production best. The murky and dank feel of his compositions conjure up a palpable sense of utter confusion. No one’s in charge here anymore, are they? By utilizing highly manipulated vocal passages alongside his trademark brine, this fellow intends to only obscure the matter. The only thing missing are the operatic swoops his own voice usually provides but this isn’t a Vindicatrix album, so our disconnected troubadour gets to do something I’m certain he relishes: fade out of focus and into the gloom. And believe me, ‘Ruin Value’ is an extremely gloomy place to visit. You are always watched, though, don’t ever let down your guard; the wet iris of the camera keeps you locked in it’s cross-hairs.
It may surprise you that such conceptual artistic endeavors are still undertaken in 2014; like anything worth being privy to, ‘Ruin Value’ is not for the surface listener who seeks to impress their friends. This is at odds with just about everything the modern world lauds, it demands your attention and won’t be pushed aside by anything else you own and next year it is coming out digitally. You have been put on notice.
For myself, ‘Ruin Value’ is another example of just how unusual and outright bizarre things can get when left to their own devices. I’ve been following Vindicatrix since his debut album but this goes beyond anything he’s yet done, the man’s creativity when it comes to sound design really is fascinating. How he juxtaposes the human voice against itself run through some kind of maniacal processing equipment brings a smile to my face, if another full-length emerges from him I can’t even begin to imagine what it will sound like. Oh, and before I go, just one more thing: I haven’t seen this film, so I’m only going off the guide track Vindicatrix provide via the score. A sumptuous wasteland full of deeply resonating themes; a meditation on the squalor of progress and how short sighted the arrogance of ego truly can be.