esmark

We were at this point due to mention new sets by both CHXFX and the Corrupting Sea, well that’s all been delayed perhaps till later or more likely tomorrow, reason for this being we were most taken and frankly blown away by a new brace of albums heading out of the Bureau B stable by Esmark. Now I’ll be totally frank here, for what initially sparked our interest, aside the fact that this set arrives as two companion – yet distinctly separate – albums, is the mere detail that any research undertaken on the net returns nil results, i mean type in any old rubbish and something will come back – but Esmark, not a sausage. More intriguing is the fact that, as i write this, the Bureau B release schedule / shop doesn’t mention it, neither nor a whiff, a hint or a passing acknowledgement, the only reference anywhere as to its impending existence a listing on a German based record outlet, just a listing mind, no detail. Now knowing and being familiar with the Bureau B aesthetic for being ahead of the curve in terms of musical fashioning, styles and experimentalism, duo Esmark (Alsen Rau and Nikolai von Sallwitz) twin pronged sonic delight ‘Mara I’ and ‘Mara II’ are quite frankly out of sight, okay there’s no envelope pushing going on here, that much is obvious, but it’s the environment the pair operate in that sets them apart from the usual Bureau B brand. Sore thumbs they may be, both volumes of ‘Mara’ seemingly distil, cross weave and reinvigorate old school principles, applying forgotten tech they forge a sound-scape both familiar yet alien, utilising insular sonic hybrids that inhabit ever narrowing sound spectrums they’ve crafted between them a musical vision with its head in dystopian futures backward glancing to the past. Operating on such outer terrains, ‘Mara’ has an unnerving knack for adventure, (and playfulness – see the binary blip chatter on ‘Krav’) there’s no rule book or stated parameters here, you are as likely to be treated to delicately droning pulsars embarking on some hitherto eclipse event (‘Skern A’) as you are in finding yourself inside the biospherical incubator of some space ark (‘Mon’). ‘Esmark’ for instance, opening ‘I’ is pure detached austere chill toned Wagon Christ on a heavy dubtronica setting that calls to mind Muslim Gauze, whilst ‘Sirens’ by sharp contrast emits the kind of subliminal sonic pulsar eeriness you’d rightly expect to fall from the work bench of Sonic Boom with his EAR hat on rephrasing the soundtrack for ‘Quatermass’.  For us though it’s ‘Mara II’ that brings home the bread and butter, here the sound sources are micro sourced, ‘husby klit Bk’ in particular culturing an irrefutably icily isolationist incline. Both stark and sparse ‘Lianen’ however is pure Radiophonic psychotropia, looped pulsars eke out a kind of 60’s styled sci-fi brain wash conditioning occasioned beneath the penetrative whirring cycles of flatlining frequency modulated mesmeric mosaics. Far lighter in tonality, and believe me you’ll be thankful for it, ‘Ringen’ purrs to a curious sub-tronic funk motif tripped in repetitive earth beat rhythms, I say earth beat albeit in truth a hybrid representation of earth beat once it’s been scanned into a computerised hive mind while the playfully impish ‘Vrig’ is pure cut n’ paste 8-bit crookedness. Admirers of a very youthful Pimmon and perhaps V/VM might warm to the harmonic hum of the scratchy glitch disquiet of ‘Objekt P62410’ though it does little to prepare you for the darkening claustrophobic futility that’s found brooding on the death head that is ‘Taeller 3981’ as it ominously prowls tuned into the kind of bleak dystopian future visions as found accompanying old 80’s VHS nightmare viewing (ends a little abruptly we should add disappointingly). Shall we settle for recommended then?   

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