When Tony Young (autoclav 1.1) and Andreas David (xotox) team-up as Natura EST, they make dark ambient music that sits far afield from their respective technoid and rhythmic noise projects. Like on their debut release from 2018, Second is monolithic in nature, presenting vast soundscapes that move glacially across the stereo spectrum, austere and constant. The strength of the pieces is largely contained in their sense of opacity; when your ear picks up some modulation or movement behind the facade of “The Flawless Shore”, or senses the gradual winnowing of tense vibrations that define “Disaster in Slow Motion” it reinforces the scope and scale of those songs they’re a part of. It’s a classic play for dark ambient as a genre, although one wonders if some of the duo’s experience working with rhythm and melody don’t inform it somewhat: check the lonesome pads that barely peak up through the waves of reverb at the climax of “Deluvium” or how “Carbon Emission” uses far more mechanical design elements than its neighbours in ways that feel proximal to each producer’s own primary work. It’s a meditative affair as you might expect, with strength that flows directly from how unhurried and deliberate it chooses to be.
Kid Goes To Night School
A rough and tumble approach to electro-industrial and related sounds has always been a large part of the appeal of Josh Reed’s Kangarot project. Given that, the prospect of him releasing a hitherto unheard record of early material raised the question of exactly how raw and unpolished Reed’s juvenalia might be. Turns out that Kid Goes To Night School isn’t comprised of the grainiest drum loops imaginable, but rather presages Kangarot’s space synth stylings with some very conscious homages to the scores of John Carpenter (the original ones, not Carpenter’s admirable recent work). Deep and by now classically familiar string pads and ominous sweeps and chimes thread through homages to the minimalist but strident scores of dozens of B-movie classics. The tinkling jig of “Midnight Shade-Deadboys in Blue” and the spunky synthpop of “Treasure Room-Book of Shadows” clearly prefigure the fascination with space synth which Kangarot would explore to fruitful ends on Nursery Of New Stars. It’s a record that’s certainly beholden to its immediate influences, but amidst the perfectly able homage one can hear traces of the unique personal trajectory Reed’s been moving along as Kangarot ever since.