music from the dark outside – volume 1

better be quick if you want one of these, I believe it’s the first official release from the Dark Outside folk. Limited to just 100 numbered cassettes, ours in case you were wondering is #92, there are no downloads for this, so if you do get it, as the inner card puts it in its welcoming message, you are going to need ‘something to play it on’. Anyhow what you get on ‘music from the dark outside – volume 1’ is a superb gathering of nine of their community at once delighting, disturbing and demurring in equal measure, the set opening with radio Norway’ which after a spot of frequency dial adjusting, Komputer step out of the shadows with a spot of playful electro pop which at once draws its reference markers somewhere between midwich youth cuckoo, Stephen Jones in his Trucker guise and captain sensible whilst positioning its radar for early 80’s terrains. Handspan we’ve already mentioned in previous despatches, think Vic Mars and Klaus Morlock retuning the Heartwood Institute – the sounds lovingly crafted in a heraldic vintage, at times assuming of regal prog aura that at one point momentarily sounds like goblin fed through a Comus viewfinder, nonetheless oozed in medieval pageantry and May Day sprays of pastoral / bucolic posies, it’s all very enchanting and grace toned in a period vintage. Wizards Tell Lies should need no introductions here, from the creative dark side of Matt Bower comes ‘the summations and rituals of Autopsy Carter’, a dread descending dark heart versed in the macabre arts and glowered in apocalyptic portent, here brooding shadows gather, and eerie deeds of consequence conspire with light sucking effect across a rising crescendo of despairing angel sighs. The effect, magnificently brooding and somewhat crushed in a bruised beauty from resulting from neglect, deceit and betrayal. Next up, Mark Lyken’s ‘nodal soup’ squirms and scares in the psychotronic shadows of tingling terror formed trip hop trembles, minimalist and sparsely weaved pressed upon a fracturing ghostly eerie, elements of Autechre flicker in its ethereal terrains though it might be truer to try imagining depth charge lost in the macabre chill doped fog of Biosphere’s darker half. Jim jarmo rounds out side 1 of the cassette with a distinctly chilling rephrasing of a Throbbing Gristle sore thumb from back in the day, now remodelled as ‘Hamburger Lady (Synthetic String Quintet)’, still sounds as disturbing as I remember from the first time I heard it, that creeping sense of detachment, remoteness and bleak emptiness, much like a ghostly whisper in your head. Would I be pushing the envelope too much in saying that I could die a happy man having heard ‘the crossing main theme’. On reflection given that current ailments are showing no signs of withdrawal or fatigue, I better not tempt fate. That said this is a most giving and lushly colourful account, amid it’s considerable palette – the symphonic pirouettes, the flotillas of bucolic arpeggios and its overall neo classical grandeur, we hear elements of Herrmann, Debussy, a young Nyman, Reich, Oldfield and Gamley flickering in its rich and bountiful sonic harvesting, incidentally it be by Martyn Ware, that chap from Heaven 17, BEF and a little-known combo called the Human League. There’s a beautifully remote aura attaching to SETI’s ‘misty floor’ as it emerges opaque by the twilight fog, much like an extra-terrestrial happening, a stillness descends amid which to a sparse minimalist cocooning, a serene and yet strangely eerie time frozen occurrence spirits away with a demurring mesmeric majesty. Been a while since we had cause for Dead Sea Apes to trouble these missives, herewith ‘rethreads’ – a hulking bearded slab of immersive psychotropic kraut drone cool replete with all manner of mixing desk skulduggery and backward looping locked grooves, quite tripping and cosmic at that, if you ask me. Rounding up this debuting release, the rise and demise of John with ‘oh’ which despite being teasingly brief, still manages to, in its blink and its gone visitations wonderfully craft a delightfully tasty techno space head rippled in the kind of softening radiance that had us here with a mind to go off rooting about for our favourite Free School and the Art of the Memory Palace platters. http://www.darkoutside.co.uk/about    

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