Serving With Both Hands
If you aren’t already familiar with Swedish ritual industrial artist Michael Idehall, you could do far worse than to check out his latest for ant-zen as an introduction. Idehall’s full-length releases are often expansive and steeped in deep esotericism that can make them a bit, if not unpenetrable, then at least obscure. Serving With Both Hands is about as bite-size as it gets, with its four tracks and twelve minute run-time providing a crash course in the project’s aesthetics. “And Evil Come” is built around grinding drones and slowly cycling drums, Idehall’s distinctive whispered growl contrasting with some very organic bell and metallic percussion sounds. “The Death Card” is Idehall at his most classically industrial, as wet synths and fuzzy rhythms rebound off one another in a cavernous field of reverb, a stark contrast to how “Conjuring Earth” uses similar sounds in a far more claustrophobic and proximal fashion. The EP finishes off with the dark ambient adjacent “Bokor Buddha” where what sounds like found sound recordings, the rattle of prayer beads and distant feedback drift slowly around one another, never quite coalescing into a song – a nice capper on this summary of Idehall’s very specific oevre, potent even in this snack-sized serving.
Mollbury Medical Research Centre
The D7 Project
One-man Scottish experimental project Mollbury Medical Research Centre prepares you for the direction of its debut release well in advance. The austere art, not to mention the project’s name and song titling point towards exactly the sort of experimentation with drone, ambiance, and sound design (with a loose theme of the paranormal) that the seven track EP delivers. A direct or unified release doesn’t have to be an indistinct or repetitive one, though, and there’s plenty of activity and range to be found even in the more overtly drone-focused pieces here. Thoughtfully composed but minimally executed guitar adds texture beneath swooshing pads and hums, and there’s something of recent Drew McDowall records in the lurching bass frequencies and wet squelches of “We Have Established Communication”. That antiseptic and austere vibe of the record’s theme doesn’t necessitate a wholly steely or misanthropic delivery, either. The little ambient pings of atonal warmth on “Standard Precautions” create their own microscopic world within the track, and are as good an example as any of the distinct pockets of sound secreted away within the EP.