Providing occasional experimental happenings in remote places, in their own words upon recalling their first event…..
“On a Saturday in October 2012, 24 hours of music that nobody (or next-to-nobody) had ever heard was broadcast in The Galloway Forest to an audience that consisted mostly of goats, deer, bats, red kites, red squirrels and a handful of brave souls who made the journey into the forest to listen”.
the Dark Outside has over recent years secretly grown in both reputation and stature to provide a safe haven for those operating on the outer margins of electronica, ambience and all the sub cultures existing between, a community thriving in a creative hub encouraging of forward thinking musical expression and reaping the rewards with the result of some of the most cutting-edge sound pioneering in those disciplines. Latest to their small yet essential release roster, a very special double cassette collected to pay tribute to the recently parted David Law known better among the online social as Dil23. ‘Skull Friday’ is a mammoth twin set providing over 90 minutes of immersive electronic sound featuring a 19 strong gathering of talent some familiar some not so. Opening with Pye Corner Audio, beginning proceedings to the celestial pulsar that is ‘assembly required’ – a hulking slab of pulsating jubilance beaming out in to the cosmic voids which in truth had us much minded of a youthful Echoboy. Drawing back into more shadowy terrains Thee Balancer serves up the oblique ‘still alive’ – a droning dark star pitched in perfectly in both poise and restraint emerging at its fall to momentary shine eclipse like before withdrawing into the brooding nothingness. Equally dark in texture and approach, Scanner’s ‘the harvest has come’ which locates itself, as were, at a fixed point on the outer edges off the galactic outlands quietly surveying all before, all the time the backdropped to an ominous, and dare we say, pensive loop grooved remoteness. Picking up the pace and mood, just a tad, is Security with ‘no’ possibly the best thing on side 1 not withstanding the Sheer Zed – next up – a distractive visitation that has a dislocated Associates – i kid you not – about it with all manner of disembodied vocals loosely tracking the slow weaving sounds unravelling below, as said very distractive and primed perfectly for those loving of those initial Almond outings just post Soft Cell. As to Sheer Zed, would I be right in saying that this ‘un taps somewhat into what might be best described as a futuristic Grace Jones hive mind, all skittering electro earth beat motifs over the top of which ghostly vocals from the ether hover, blighter shifts in depth, density in detail pivoted on a hypnotic grooving that wouldn’t look to out of place on a Tarwater platter. Wrapping up mattes for side 1, familiar friends Wizards Tell Lies serve up ‘the crystal kid made the rainbow’s colours’ and into the bargain usher in a subtle change of direction and style, the previous dystopian industrialism replaced by something lighter and more playful in toning and hitherto electronically honed, much reminiscent it should be said of his former alter ego the Vector Lovers.
Over on side 2, the black dog leads the charge with the bass heavy ’23 discipline internal line’ which I must admit at one point was so dense the floor was rumbling, a kind of stars going out galactic epitaph of a type, pulsing drone swathes silently swanning into view, passing and then gone though not before leaving you a tad teared and humbled. Next up Stephanie Merchak drops ‘no more trouble’ – a wonderfully stilled and crystalline orbital seductively seasoned in a becoming calm brought to bear by the shimmering other worldly mosaics, very mesmeric and much recalling Judie Lowther (who incidentally should be making a long overdue appearance in these pages very shortly). Occasional visitors to these missives, Implicit Order found here remixed by Dil23 step up to the plate with the disorientating and decidedly remote sounding ‘Druidic Childe Cults II (Witching Hour Remix)’, very eerie especially in the way the light and dark textures meld uncomfortable with the ice chilled of the deathly drones prickled by the happy go lucky nonchalance of looping ‘mr Sandman’ recitals. Both AKM (seriously wayward and fractured left field out there-ness) and Grimmsk had us of a mind to go rummaging through our stash of old school Tigerbeat6 releases, the latter mentioned distantly off tuned to the vibes of Muslim Gauze albeit as though retooled by 70 gwen party. Last up for side 2, Finitribe, blimey a blast from the past I’d thought they’d gone the way of most greats, herewith a remix by 3daughters and sounding very Front 242 fed through the creative eye of Coil.
Now to side 3 which you’ll find, obs, on cassette 2, wherein things get a little more difficult in the determining of where one track ends and another starts, so you might have to bear with me on this because I’m liable to wrongly credit and get a tad confused. Anyhow, the late Dil23 can be found flittering the chamber grooves of Erla Orleans’ quite magical and dare I say, enchanting ‘Lucifer’s Christmas’. With its ethereal twinkle sets manages to create a curiously amorphous dream daze which dovetails perfectly into SETI’s brooding leviathan ‘Zildev24’ – a patrolling herald from the deepest outer limits of space possessed of all manner of binary squiggles and celestial swathes that in truth wouldn’t look too out of place backdropping some kind of revisiting symphony to accompany an updated script to ‘Silent Running’. The brooding quotient is upped considerably on Amoeba AV’s hulking glacial dub gem ‘Kanzeon Xap Mo Xnok 4 Dil’ which paired within a minimalist framing replete with the subtle ghosting of monastic murmurs had us much minded of Black Saturn. Stapperton bring up the rear and with that draw closure to this particular side with ‘South West Circuit (Stimulation)’, something we’d like to think that might peak the interests of folk much adoring of the Astral Social Club given it arrives coiled in ear wax dissolving intense showers of white hot solar burns the likes of which, if Dylan the housecat is anything to judge by, is guaranteed to clear the listening space of all small animals and the occasional unwanted guest.
And so, the concluding side of this excellent outing with an ominous greeting from Carter Tutti courtesy of ‘it’s a beautiful thing’, not quite as skin peeling and chilling as releases heading out of the Aetheric imprint but still cut with enough disquiet to suggest it be some visitation from beyond. I must admit we here have been a tad taken with Joseph Ahmed’s ‘an uncommon man’ notwithstanding that it had us imagining some secret Tibetan located summit meeting convened upon by70 Gwen Party (him again) with Muslim Gauze and Depth Charge, our attraction much piqued by its sand swirling snake weaving spell craft. Laica whose strictly limited appearance on Arell from a year or more ago I’m certain we mentioned in passing, steps into the melee with ‘liminal factories’ and provide a classy example of lost in the moment of shape shifting subterranean dub-tronic immersion which in hindsight wouldn’t look to out of place on the rednetic imprint. Remixed by P6, Remission’s ‘Atomic (Koresh Hates Thee Children Mix)’ gets the stately overhaul treatment re-emerging from the experience tailored in a decidedly icy dystopian dinked and somewhat macabre middle eastern happening etched in a dark dub detailing which leaves Dave Fryans’ quietly majestic epitaph ‘Skull Friday (for Dil23)’ to round out matters imparting a degree of thoughtful and reflectively hushed reverence to this respects paying gathering. www.darkoutside.co.uk