[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
The city crumbles. The city decays. Somehow people continue to live their lives oblivious to the degenerate state of things around them, whether it is the potholes left to become lakes or the streetlights flickering intermittently; an infrastructure falling into ruin while commuters swarm across it. Vortex remain uncompromising in the field of experimental dark ambient, there really is no comparing what this one man does to anyone else. His last album chronicled the ending of the world and now he’s turned his focus towards the aftermath of industrialization; his vision is a nihilist’s paradise. The lumbering rhythms flow in and out of each composition without overpowering and the glowering atmospheres lose none of their potency throughout the proceedings.
Having lived in the sort of place he’s describing I can attest to the horrific price both man and nature pay for this kind of unchecked expansionist urban policy. Profiteering becomes the sole drive on every single level and the longer you remain the more clearly you begin to see your life governed by unseen, greedy hands manipulating the course of events. Look at the world over the last few decades, time and time again you will see this same pattern of divisiveness and spiteful contempt for those who cannot afford the options being forced upon them.
There’s a sickness at the core of major metropolitan cities I feel; these temples built in homage to the power of industry and the corrosive allure of money are founded upon misery as the majority of their inhabitants do not share in the benefits of their labors. They toil and trudge, they sweat and curse and eventually they are ground down into nothing. While those at the top continue to remove opportunity and stability, there is but one fate awaiting the gentrified petri dishes they call home; at first the fissures are small and easily papered over but these grow with time until one day they look out of their windows and see their beloved kingdom eating itself.
In a realm such as ‘Moloch’ there is no room for compassion, there certainly is no reason to hope. Those who aspire to escape this gilded cage wrought out of consumerist fantasies are dealt with swiftly and permanently; it is important to maintain the illusion that things are not as bad as those awful free-thinkers say they’ve become, why just look at how reasonably priced these new condos are… you can move in whenever you like and be among others who choose to look away from what everyone else are having to contend with; just sign right on the dotted line, welcome to the good life.
Vortex have encapsulated all of this and then torn down the facade to reveal how these human grist mills actually work: once someone who has more comes along they never want to share nor do they ever think they have enough, so they will target the very lot who feel they’ve finally achieved success. It is a vicious cycle that never ends and now thanks to Marcus Stiglegger it has a soundtrack.