The Herhalen label has released two tapes so far this year that are bleak and banging; dank and void-cold.
Luke Lund’s ‘Rogue Star’ is pulsating, scabrous and violent. Deep night-sky techno, full of treacherous physics, as the album notes have it; a logic being flexed from beneath, space-time skin bulging as something shark-like cruises beneath. Malevolent bass blurts bend light around their mass, gravitational wobbles caught in observatory data exciting scientists with the possibility of new exoplanets, but only finding dark, bottomless pulses. Ticking tense clockwork beats, seething with foaming energy. Rigid grid dynamics disturbed by acid wobble and a caustic rain of buzzing radiation. Dub echoes underscored with guttural machine growls. Squirming circuitry, soft sirens, beautiful drones. Harsh noise straining in at the edges. ‘SN 2014J (Yarkovsky Effect)’ is particularly good, consisting of fuzz sweeps, pulsing snarling bass and slow lost siren wails sunk in acid bloop; its rhythmic framework shifted into incoherence by small inconsistencies in repetition. Music for watching the stars blink out.
‘Darklands’ by Percival Pembrooke is a more earth-bound affair; full of a drifting, frozen, sodden peace. Chilly coastal loops, long lapping tides of sighing sampler tones, dragging in and out. Sad jetsam wrecked and pushed into view on graceful swells of slowly repeating drones and destroyed guitar. The tape’s second half recalls the smeared opiated dreamwash of Oneohtrix Point Never. It sounds like a long exposure audio-photo of water, stretched into a misty flat blur. Final track, ‘Darklands IX’, is wonderful edge-of-the-world music, chaotic wind chimes and wave crashed beaches segueing into a slow Basinski loop-lament; a circular threnody seeing the album out and depositing the listener on a cold shore somewhere, huddled in a wet sleeping bag, on the edge of consciousness, looking out at a tossing grey immensity. It is crushingly, bleakly beautiful.
One tape turns to the sea in the same way that the other looks to space; neither artist seeming to like what they find there.