Sound artist and composer Olivia Block approached her new album with a purposely limited sound palette. The mellotron and synth organ are front and centre and so is a low throbbing bass line. So are the same seven notes that occur over and over again but in different shapes and emotions. The whole album feels like a sonic ceremony for an unveiling of a grotesque monstrosity. It would also fit an Alejandro Jodorowsky film perfectly.
Each track is a dirge ambience of organs, bass and quiet frenzy. Olivia Block states that a large inspiration for the album was the book ‘Ice’ by Anna Kavan. It’s a sci-fi apocalypse in the frozen wasteland and this feeling is in every note, chord and noise. What I love most about the album is not so much how the album sounds but how the tracks convey a feeling. In ‘Axiolite’, the albums’ opener, the organs and warped sounds transition into a warning siren of maddening chaos. ‘Laika’ is an icy dystopia drone that gets harsher and harsher over time. ‘En Echelon’ is like a music heart attack. The way the bass throb stabs at you is like a horror movie whilst the synths sound like a psychotic harpsichord. The closing track ‘Rivers in Reverse’ is like the entire album compressed into a 10-minute biopic. It’s a weird and wonderful album that is certainly not for everyone. It is a difficult listen. It’s abrasive, questioning, celestial and bleak. Yet it unveils itself like a weird beast and stands proud and tall and perhaps that’s the point.
This album feels both stuck in motion and time and frenzied and chaotic. Olivia Block nails the musical soundtrack to an existential crisis. You can almost hear a brain quietly exploding in the background as the music decays. It’s a wonderfully bleak and aggressively steely drone ambience collection and certainly stands out from the crowd.
Recommended track: Rivers in Reverse
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