Music For The Church Of St John The Baptist: I - (10:44)
Music For The Church Of St John The Baptist: II - (4:06)
Music For The Church Of St John The Baptist: III - (4:50)
Music For The Church Of St John The Baptist: IV - (5:32)
Music for the Church of St John the Baptist was recorded live at Bristol's 14th century church of the same name by composer Paul Jebanasam in July 2011. Responding to the unique space with a combination of textured electronic drones, baroque instrumentation and choral elements, the four tracks are both an inspired piece of sound art and an absorbing piece of composition which continues the revived Subtext's journey into exploratory, off-the-grid experimentation.
Electronic music is meant to provide a release from the real world, but Medium, the latest missive by UK producer Emptyset, will bring anyone who hears it crashing back to the earth. Emptyset's approach makes nods to narratives from the past, taking influence from the tortured industrial noise of Throbbing Gristle, the eerie ambience of Regis and minimal techno at its most reductionist. On "Interstice", this latter trait manifests itself as dead paced beats and frost percussion disappear into nothingness only to re-appear a few seconds later. On "Other", Emptyset does more to reintroduce the spirit of industrial to contemporary electronic music than a shelf full of situationist techno releases; murderous sub-bass stabs provide the focus, but on the sidelines eerie sound scapes and textures are unfolding, accompanied by skittish percussion. "Mirror" meanwhile sees waves of white noise and static interference and a rave siren build over doubled-up death pace beats. These are the closest references to structured electronic music. "Divide" delivers a tapestry of detached sounds while on "Medium" itself, Emptyset wallows in menacing bass licks with background noise seething beneath the surface. This is music that matches the unparalleled dark age we are living through, and just this once, the Medium really is the message.
Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station-Snowdonia, Wales 17.12.12 - (7:00)
Ambika P3-London, England 12.12.12 - (5:09)
Chislehurst Mine-Kent, England 02.11.12 - (5:17)
Material contains not one but three lengthy segments of live performances from Paul Purgas and James Ginzburg's Emptyset project, recorded throughout last year's prodigious gigs around the globe. Judging from the various titles, the recordings seem to be based around the industrial aspects of the duo's far-reaching influences, starting from "Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station-Snowdonia, Wales 17.12.12" where the combination between sparse kicks and brooding injections of noise make for a real spectacle. "Ambika P3-London, England 12.12.12" is similar in texture but more offensive by nature, striking out its menacing whirls of radioactive noise, quickly and effectively; whilst, "Chislehurst Mine-Kent, England 02.11.12" goes back to a considerably more tame approach, taking gasps of air between the scalding infusions of noise emanating from the shadows of the duo's machines; this is cerebral, visceral stuff, and comes highly recommended.
The former Vex'd conspirator and Bristol-dwelling Mr Porter is carving out a fine new space for himself amongst like-minded noise-tinkerers such as Emptyset, and here he delivers a new long-player of nail-biting soundscapes that successfully refigure the bombast of his previous endeavours and applies it to more abstract realms. For every cacophonic crescendo there is an arresting lull, as fearsomely demonstrated on "Gravity", and it's astounding just how much this is about melody, harmony and timbre as much as sonic texture. Steeped in evocative string arrangements and ever moving through different scenarios, the tapestry woven here is a must for anyone craving the intersection between classical and avant-garde composition.
The second instalment of the Subtext Live series comes from the magnificent collaboration between Roly Porter and Cynthia Millar, famously recorded live in the Britten Studio at Snape Maltings in Suffolk! The pair have constructed four incredibly diverse pieces of music, starting with the slow-burning, electronic guitar riff of "Three Brothers" which falls neatly into "The Battle" - a grandiose opening guided by a single flute is transformed into a chasmal hymn made up of dispersed drums and echoing guitars. "The Field" is a dazzling soundscape interlude, making way for the LP's most apocalyptic moment yet: "The Sea", a ten minute voyage through canonical melodies, almost forming an ode to mother nature herself. Powerful sound expeditions.
With an approach that takes inspiration from the industrial ambience of Throbbing Gristle and Regis into a particularly dense sound, Emptyset find material from their recent Demiurge album reworked by kindred spirits and Subtext label associates Paul Jabanasam and Roly Porter. Jabanasam's take on "Demiurge" is filled with juddering bass tones which grow out of a dread filled soundscape like arcane monoliths, while Roly Porter's variation on "Function" builds layers of drone into a sedate drift before pneumatic bullets of sounds disrupt the serene mood. Not for the fainthearted.