[Reviewed by stark]
No distant or exotic dark ambient travels this time, not Iran, Serbia, Romania or Portugal; God Body Disconnect comes from the United States and “Dredge Portals” is the project’s full-length debut that comes out under the Cryo Chamber banner. Speaking of distance, I meant from a geographical point of view, since when it comes to what dark ambient is all about, that is, helping the listener escape from the mundane, the here and now, to some dark yet very tempting realms, or simply – nomen omen – to disconnect the mind from the body, Bruce Moallem’s project seems to be quite skillful.
Of course, there’s the the whole package; the halo, the booklet poem, the graphic design or the track titles which, if you use your imagination, can assume the shape of a story that you can further develop in your mind. But when it comes to the music itself, it’s not as painfully predictable as Manchester United’s performances this season – sorry for that not very dark ambient reference – and in this particular genre this can be treated as quite an achievement.
Let’s take the very first track, “Rise Of The Dormant Host”, where after an atmospheric narration, a kind of a serene synth part emerges from a silent void. I have to admit that Bruce has a great voice (I assume it’s the artist himself, not some voice sample), clear and pleasant to the ear; it makes me think that even a purely spoken-word album by God Body Disconnect would leave me very satisfied.
As the titles suggest, the following tracks make a progressive journey into the unknown, probably dark but marked with glimmers of hope, like “The Reflection Tower” based on – again – warm textures, guitar sounds of a post-rock provenance and the samples of laughter, children’s play etc. A reflection over times when everything was simple, when we were young and things weren’t so fucked up? Perhaps.
The subsequent compositions make you realize that it shouldn’t all be treated literally, that it’s not a journey to an underworld with horned demons and monsters, but more of an exploration of a sick mind, possibly a schizophrenic , slowly losing touch with the world outside. Occasionally it reminds me of the book “The Drowning Girl” by Caitlin R. Kiernan, which had made an impression on me back in the day. The album reaches its peak in “Lost In The Astral World”, a dense and intense track, balancing between light and darkness.
“Perpetually Devoured”, with its subtle suggestion in the title, makes me think of Prometheus hanging on a rock, having his liver eaten away every day for thirty years. This track is full of space; the elements in an eternal turbulence and the tragedy of a fragile being who wanted to achieve something timeless.
I had big expectations from the last God Body Disconnect track, “Dreaming Of Glaciers”, simply because I love dreamy music and glacial ambient. So I thought, “with such a title it cannot be bad”. It wasn’t. Stunning track, giving exactly what the title announces. Meditative, with the background abundantly saturated with field recordings and clearly giving the listener to understand that this is the end of the story. Not exactly “they lived happily ever after”. It’s like when you have finished watching a depressive movie that has moved you deeply, and you sit silently staring at the end titles, trying to figure out if it all could have gone better.
A very good debut and a good opening of 2016 for the Cryo Chamber label. More of this project in the future, please.