[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
The Dyatlov Pass incident occurred back in 1959 in the Ural Mountains. A group of 9 hikers led by Igor Dyatlov planned a trip in the Northern part of the Ural mountains; circumstances forced them to set up camp on a slope. No one was to be found alive and seemingly they had torn their tents from the inside out trying to flee. The Soviet authorities commented briefly on the cause of death : “unknown compelling force”.
Eric Jarl documents this incident on his latest disc, a three folded album. Known for the lattice effects of his music, with glints of his work in IRM, Jarl has been forging a peculiar musical identity within the industrial scene. The turbulent modulations he endows his drones and electronics with, and the distinctive, heavily achromatic atmosphere, have few equals in terms of quality and isotropy, confronting the listener with a demanding perusal of sound textures.
The depiction of the Dyatlov Case begins with an “Introduction”, an extended musical narration of the dynamics preceding the culmination of the incident itself. The music is developed under the idea of expansion, excluding linearity or uniformity of sound, and acting in all directions at the same time. Just how suggestive and perpetrating the sound textures are, you realise when the song fades in, because during the fluid and radiating transmittance the mind remains absolutely stunned and hinged to the variations.
Like in the case of the project’s preceding album, “Tunguska Event”, Jarl deepens an unsolved mystery by a hermeneutic treatment of sounds. A present reflection of a past incident is translated into an artistic musical memento in a deep telepathic connection with unsettling memories. Part 2 of the disc, called “Barrier”, juxtaposes some alien vibes on molecular pulses of drones encircling and physically numbing the senses through sound proliferation. Jarl’s sounds contain an almost material feature, radiation: each concentration of noises transfers the intended message or image by sonic radiation.
Through an imaginative process his musical style becomes an aural translation of what was happening in the mind of the hikers at that time. It is a regime of terror and wandering, pictured by vacillating drones on the background of a blank death-ambient, a sense of perplexion at the view of death or of whatever the mind can’t irrationally accept. Here too, if you can control the madness, like Jarl does, said madness becomes music or at least a suggestion of another reality.
The album, which is comprised of 2 discs and is released by the swedish label Reverse Alignement, displays a minimalist, visually objective artwork by Karolina Urbaniak (the graphic artist teamed up by the IRM crew). Even more than the first two parts, the third one, “Aftermath”, pushes the introspection much further, as fright and thrill are now gone together with life, and the hikers identify with what they have experienced. Like the gentle industrial mélopée, they are now only a memory of the mountain, sung by the wind caressing rocks and fir-trees.
“Case 1959-Dyatlov” is a disc of musical introversion: the power of the sounds over the mind can cause the psychical energies to drill into the depths and activate the lost content of archetypical images. Likely, it is a musical experience of deep involvement and identification, the listener feeling as if they have lost themselves, channeling one of those hikers lead by Dyatlov.