[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
This dual entity consisting, as some surely know already, by AIH (vocals in Dolorian and member of other Helixes projects) and JKV (Jaakko Vanhala, Depther, Zoät-Aon) was formed back in 1998 and they are now re-releasing their first original full-length material “The Cadaver Pulse” through the Stellar Mansion series initiated by Aural Hypnox.
The Cadaver Pulse I (Sealed In a Radiant Larval Maelstrom) contains 6 pieces (entitled “states” ) of exceedingly demanding ambient music. The instant that the first song (IX state) evacuates itself out of some inextinguishable dungeon I am immediately grasped within the very impotence of my skull. And remain likewise for the length of about 20 incredible minutes during which the harsh radiances of a ferocious dark industrial scrutinize the depths of my mind. The full intensity of “The Place Where The Black Stars Hang” receives a rough, sharply natural treatment from I.corax proving that such in-depth ambiances can be solved out by simple and unexpected means. They process natural sounds in an almost unrecognizable way and reinvent a genre the more and more accessible for anyone.
True, the record came out in 2003, and it can now be fully appreciated. The sound on the second track, X, is massive and harshly condensed, despite of the fragile noises sweeping hazardously. I hear droppings of sparkling beeps on a ghastly tapestry of black noise, shape-shifting like liquid metal into several images of deformation. Then water splashes on the newly sculptured bodies and they sail amidst wild lights and shadows towards other shores. This painting of the night realm rests on spiritual observations and an understanding which can be reproduced by the means of a very demanding and absorbing music. The two members of I.corax attempt to visualize personal dreamstates that reality perceives in concentrated symbols. Where a symbol is a key, their music is the door, unabashedly offered to each one of us.
Should we enter and feel all the energies freed from their telluric prison? Not certain we are all fit for this and likewise for this third track, XI, that is absolutely narcoleptic: it blows in the cadence of the breath as if an entire planet were controlling its respiration, together with wind and bow instruments relieving sounds of primordial origin, all completing an orchestration of planetary gases. With track XII the vaporous melody gains the nuances of a ritualistic rhythm. However this surprising access of need to possess falls again to a contemplative state in “XIII”. The luminescent body of the song, glittering like a worm in the evening, will not resist the harsh noise taint but instead receive it and make it its own feature.
The final state of The Cadaver Pulse I, number XIV, re-adapts the main musical and allegorical theme of the album, that of the maelstrom, to new escapist suggestions. The mantra is now built around balanced percussions favouring a certain equilibrium of space, and the music flows in circular shades, as if searching to annihilate the linearity of time.
The Cadaver Pulse II (Mothelix Liquescent), performed and recorded during “three days live-sessions held in the Blue Vortex” in 2003, resumes the “states” and continues with the “XV state”. The picture seizes the soothing nightfall coming along with the nocturnal revived life. This life, once held captive in concrete, is being restored to nature, and its indifferent mumbling and muttering is transformed into spiritualized auras of the wind. While “Sealed In a Radiant Larval Maelstrom” entangled the listener in a percussive maze of dense sounds, “Mothelix Liquescent” treats the sounds through a different medium that dematerializes and liquefies the musical material. As weightless as they can be, these sylphlike textures of sound are impressive when drawing multidimensional visuals of a dreamstate like in piece “XVI”: spacious feedbacks interfere with cut-off loops and organ-like noises, all arranged on hypnotic frequencies.
As percussion is absent, rhythm is only anticipated within the movement of the melody. The posture in “XVII” is deeply meditative, the tune moving in slow centrifuge in an attempt to capture a final state of the mental modifications. Squeezing noises disturb the flowing of the melody, like a boat adrift that cannot reach the shore.
On the next “XVIII state”, analogue keyboards build a hallucinatory musical piece roughly appropriate to pioneer experiments in electronic or concrete music (Vivenza, Schaeffer). It is perhaps another rewarding feature for I.corax (that certainly differentiates the project from the other ones at Helixes). What past avant-garde composers had considered courageous endeavours in musical experimentation the Finnish duo takes it seriously and imbues it with cultural and spiritual significance. Suffice it to hear “XIX state” that uses techniques from the above-mentioned genre and overbids with personal findings. The “XX state” regains the creeping flux from the beginning, this time articulated with lashings and distorted voices. The uncanny lingering modulation notwithstanding – that seems to imitate the fly of a moth around a source of light – the melody hovers somewhere between dream and lethargy without abusing the senses.
The two discs are limited to 500 copies and come delivered in a special Aural Hypnox package. Aural Hypnox pays a necessary tribute to the musical underground by re-releasing the past records of these Finnish projects. In this case, The Cadaver Pulse of I.corax unfolds a distinguished work that stands both as a presage to ulterior musical contemplations, and as a reminder of former dark nights of the soul.