Atomine Elektrine – The Antikythera Mechanism

[Reviewed by stark]

This mechanism Peter Andersson is referring to in the title of the new Atomine Elektrine offering is considered as the first analogue computer. The device was constructed by the ancient Greeks to predict future astronomical occurrences and phenomenas. Even this day it’s an object of scientific researches and studies as its technological sophistication is still unexplained for XXI century scientists and scholars. One of the greatest enigmas in the history of mankind and… what an inspiring theme for a dark ambient artist to explore through music.

It’s not a secret that Peter is a truly versatile musician within the electronic underground, always efficient, no matter if he seeks more noisy approach or more atmospheric one. Atomine Elektrine was born of his fascination of science and instead of wandering through lost cathedrals and desolate wastelands we explore the secrets of space and quantum physics. Clearly, it’s not just the words in the titles and press releases, but the music is unlike his other projects as well. For 25 years the foundation of Atomine Elektrine sound was the use of analogue synthetisers, the old-school instruments cherished by the German masters from the 70s. His music was constantly developing over the years, in all projects, apart from Atomine Elektrine also Raison d’etre, Necrophorus, Bocksholm and several others. Often the inspirations were morphing one through another (for example Necrophorus’ “Imprints” has a one hundred percent Atomine Elektrine vibe), but in general high quality is practically always guaranteed.

I have to admit that while my favourite Peter’s “non-raison” release is “Drifting In Motion” by Necrophorus, it is Atomine Elektrine I value the most as a whole. Maybe not exactly the very first albums, like “Elemental Severance” where it was Jean Michel Jarre a godfather rather than Klaus Schulze, but “Nebulous” or “Laniakea” are very frequent guests in my CD player, up to this day.

Can’t declare today that “The Antikythera Mechanism” will also regain its place in my personal pantheon of all Peter’s releases as it is quite crowdy over there, but yes, it is good, it is goddamn good! The opening dark space of “Arcturus Alpha Boo” made me think of the cosmic vacuums generated by some of the Loki Foundation maestros as the deep rumblings and the feeling of an infinite expanse made me feel small and irrelevant. It calms down after a few minutes and brings a mystery of a titular mechanism to the forefront. From the universe entirety to this tiny device that can capture its secret.

I’m in love with “Metonic Spiral”. You know why? Because it’s like taken straight from “Drifting In Motion”, those delicate synth passages combined with weird bubbling and swirling sounds recall the atmosphere of that masterpiece. Yet while that one had this overwhelming aura of sadness and solitude, in “Metonic Spiral” I hear… a hope that the wonder of what hides behind the ionosphere can be comprehended by the human mind. That feeling is intensified by the second half of the track where these slow melodies and analogue sequences take it one step closer to the old-school German electronica.

In the following track, “The Exeligmos Pointer” all these rhythmic pulsations may recall a working mechanism, while the majestic background textures compliment the structure as a subject of that work. They’re huge and beautiful, they can be compared to the sun/moon eclipse, watched by you, predicted by the device. Subtly disturbing “Time Dislocated By The Mechanism” is. It may sound bizarre, but this piece have something in common with what Penjaga Insaf did on their “Sama Sadja”. While conceptually both projects couldn’t be more distant one from another.

The organic aura of “Epicylic Gearing” is represented by these cyclic sequences, coming and going, pulsating like a bloodflow, later that bass rumblings appears, like a heartbeat. And that simple repeated melody, combined with the mentioned elements develop a tremendous track, which brings another name to my mind. Predominance. Remember that one? Yes, as you can see, that Loki reference few paragraphs ago wasn’t accidental.

Such albums like “The Antikythera Mechanism” deserve an epic ending, yet one must have in mind that Peter Andersson doesn’t really like to finish his albums with a bang. “Fragment F” is not a praise of a human mind, the awe of its endless powers and capabilities. No, it’s a cosmic space, quiet, soulless, without beginning nor end.It’s like the blackest shade of black, it’s probably Peter’s most oppressive finale since “The Eternal Return And The Infinity Horizon”.

And probably one of his best works, at least within the last couple of years. This reference may sound funny, but he’s like Stephen King of dark ambient and I know that a lot of folks grumble that “it’s not the same, his older novels were classic and now he’s just reaping the benefits of his older efforts.” Not true, “The Outsider” or “Sleeping Beauties” are as good as the novels from his so-called “golden era”. Same goes with Peter Andersson, I heard more than once that what he does now is not the same as 20-25 years ago. Wrong. Don’t let nostalgia speak for you. He’s still in a very good shape and the astounding sound of “The Antikythera Mechanism” is its brightest, or rather darkest example.

Atomine ElektrineThe Antikythera Mechanism
Winter-Light, WIN 027
CD/LP/Digital 2020

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