Label: Enough Records
Split records can often be a mixed bag, quality wise. There’s plenty of them in my collection where one side has been played to death, whilst the other doesn’t stand up as strongly. As such, they can be something of a risk. But on the other hand, they can be an excellent way to introduce you to new bands and artists that you have not yet encountered. Such is the case for myself with the new three-way split between Aires, Earthly Beasts, and Rui P. Andrade. All three acts present a song each of dark, haunting noise/drone/ambient, coming together to form a record that works incredibly well as a whole, but also with enough variation to show that these are the works of separate artists, operating from a similar starting point but each one putting a different spin on the style.
Aries begins the record with “Solvet Cosmoc In Flavilla”, that sets the tone: dark, haunting, with a slightly spacious feeling that only serves to emphasise the dread. Metallic, almost discordant chimes are the main focus, with occasional strings – or are they horns? – fading in and out providing extra texture. It’s a track that comes across as almost post-human, the strange chimes coming to feel like something close to language with repeated listens. They fade out as the track reaches the end, with the strings/horns standing alone, sounding almost sad in their solitude. It’s a remarkable listen.
Earthly Beasts then follow with “Erebus”. Post-industrial thuds and drone begin the track, before what sounds like steam turned in to an instrument takes the lead. It’s a sound full of tension, ebbing and flowing, filled with little anxiety-inducing glitches and moments that last that bit too long to be comfortable; but above all, it is an engaging listen. The repetition of this movements is trance-inducing, and the track feels much shorter than it’s nine minute duration. When the track reaches its conclusion with another series of thuds and drone, it feels like an ending in some more profound sense.
Finally, Rui P. Andrade’s “Turdus Merula” brings the record to a close. It is the most sparse of the three tracks on the record, filled with a ghostly sense of emptiness and chill, conjuring images of blasted landscapes and empty buildings. It is full of sounds half-heard in the distance, the nature of them and their meaning left to play on your imagination. It is this fact that makes them all the more effective, and as unsettling as the track is, there is something about it that demands attention and repeated listens, right up until the end, where the world descends in to feedback and noise.
There are a few things about all three tracks that may go without saying. As uniformly excellent as they are, these pieces of music are made for solitary, night-time listening, where they are given the best opportunity to play upon your imagination. Likewise, with each fresh listen they reveal new things. I tend to be someone who likes the idea of noise and dark ambient more than I do most noise and dark ambient records, but I find that this split is a record I keep coming back to over and over again.
The split can be downloaded and streamed for free via the links at Enough Records.