Thirty two years on from “Hot On The Heels Of Love”, we’re seeing a huge influx of artists native to techno who, having journeyed to the most minimal and dark outposts of that genre, are turning to the earliest origins of industrial. In both the US and the UK, producers paying homage to that era are paradoxically celebrating one of the most anti-humanist movements in music as a mythical, fecund garden of Eden to which one must make a pilgrimage. Picture a recasting of 2001‘s Birth of Man scene with kids from the wastelands of Detroit flocking to the obsidian monolith of Monte Cazazza’s discography, then beating each other’s heads in with rudimentary AKAIs. Italian producer Violet Poison’s debut LP takes hold of that legacy’s most minimal and impassive dimension.
With the buzz we’ve been detecting around Violet Poison and that eponymous producer’s collaboration with Berlin’s Shapednoise as Violetshaped, it’s no surprise to find their confusingly-named Violet Poison label (seriously, guys, take it easy on those of us who have to keep these things straight for a living) sharing time with Dom Farrow’s Hospital Productions. The more dedicated ID:UD reader may recall that label releasing last year’s solid Silent Servant LP, a record which is definitely in the same ballpark as Voices From The Hell. That said, Violet Poison’s beats, if they can even be termed that, are of a far more stripped down variety. Beginning with a track that’s little more than a rubbery rattle, then another which accents the dusty wisp of what sounds like the run-off groove of a thrift store vinyl find with the shallowest of taps, Voices From The Hell begins as a test of both how restrained into silence electronic music can get and the listener’s urge to scratch at psychosomatic itches.
Things do begin to open up as Violet Poison continues, with muttered French overtop a wormy, echoing pad on the title track bringing Deutsch Nepal to mind just as handily as Farrow’s work as Vatican Shadow. A phased drone drifts around a simple martial drum loop on “Like A Pandora’s Box” as if it were a mosquito, and the almost tropical, pinging cosmic warbles of “Psychonight” connote Nurse With Wound. It’s an incremental but relentlessly bleak excavation of industrial history. By the time the most tentative and unassuming of IDM melodies creep in on penultimate “A Blade In The Dark”, one wants nothing more than to climb into the record to protect them as if they were shoots of grass in a post-apocalyptic hellscape.
The total mapping of the cross-pollination glimpsed of techno and industrial, with overlapping topographies blurry but still visible through each other’s respective histories, would be an ambitious project indeed. Voices From Hell isn’t that project, but it’s a steely and precise cross-section of it. Not for the faint of heart, but definitely worthwhile for both excavators of industrial’s past as well as soothsayers of techno’s future.