Donor Lens - Desire Path
May 6, 2022
It takes a great deal of time to create something disturbing. Whereas making someone laugh can be achieved through a picture or short video taken completely out of context, to create something that inspires discomfort or even fear requires an engineering of atmosphere. A viewer or listener must fully understand the boundaries of the situation they are being presented before they are able to grasp what is unnatural or a cause for alarm. Music, and more specifically electronic music can create atmosphere almost instantly. As such, the engineering of a strange or unnatural sound is an endearing prospect. You need only to glance at the album artwork for Diskette Park‘s Deepfall to know that “disturbing” is the objective. The artist offers a 1-track/30-minute project that you can only assume will mirror the feeling of this haunting image.
Pads drift in slowly, a conglomerate of notes that readily inspires feelings of worry and even tragedy and sadness. Easing the listener in with a noticeably ambient sound far flung from the artist’s usual style, Diskette Park sends the haunting mist toward us. It fills the soundscape accompanied by feelings of weighty dread. Slow in its movements, the defiant push towards the centre of the mix causes the foundations to rumble a little before the shroud recedes. A more explicitly formed sound begins its advance. A chord progression on sustained keys supports those feelings of despair, accentuated by a twinkling lead melody that hangs in the air. The similarities to creeping video game soundtracks like Silent Hill is evident. The melancholy of the melody conveys to the listener that something horrifying and unnatural has already taken place. The atmosphere we find ourselves in is already uncanny. There is no ghoul ready to jump out at us, only a vague sense of unease. Every so often, noises come into focus. The chattering of something indiscriminate, or what sounds like the fluttering of wings. It is impossible to tell exactly what is appearing in front of us, a shroud of uncanny noise and sad melodies. As the keys hold a tense note, what can only be described as incredibly real and immersive knocking can be heard deep within the bowels of the track. Those listening through speakers may miss it, but those with headphones may find themselves glancing suddenly at the nearest door. A real genuine moment of insurgence in a scary yet distant atmosphere. Diskette Park places the spookiness right at our door, much like the featureless figure on Deepfall‘s artwork. The misty atmosphere clears abruptly, and a lower even more daunting pad sound appears. Dulcet keys play out a rainy melody. Within the low pads, the general hum of voices can be heard. A collection of voices singing in a deep, austere chant untouched by the gigantic movements of the dreamlike atmosphere around us. They evaporate, as does the pads and out of the droning nothingness comes artificial sounds slicing through the haze. Again, lost after a few seconds and fading back into thin air. Apart from deep, troubling soundscape instrumentation, Diskette Park keeps things fairly amorphous. The listener unable to fully grasp what they are hearing one minute to the next. A tuneful impact clears the air, expelling the dark sounds. In the vacuum, the singing of metallic forms begins to leak out. The backdrop is some sort of industrial noise, too far away to be fully audible. If this was indeed an immersive visual experience, here is where we’d take our first step into some nameless factory location. Unable to grasp what exactly is created, the machinations lasting long after those who were employed to man them disappeared. Blurry keys begin a slow tune that pushes up against the listener, fizzling with distortion at points. The atmosphere of discomfort gets a little closer to our personal space as a sample half-machine, half-melody revolves in an uneven rhythm in front of us. At the end of its revolution, a faint note can be heard before being lost in strange sounds like pistons slowly marching through a repeating process. The vague air of creepiness is gone, replaced by indiscernible but direct noise. Glass smashes somewhere rooms away from us, the rattling of metal erupts from somewhere beyond our location. The strange dissonant apparition is gone and a pressuring air-conditioner hum replaces it as we venture inwards. Percussion seeps through the dull walls of the building, accented by a rising bass note at the end of every bar. Disconcerting noises begin to reveal themselves, what could either be heavy breathing or maniacal screeching glides toward us. It turns out that the sound is neither of those things, rather a voice very close to us muttering inanely to itself. Diskette Park begins to bring disorientating aspects that were peppered around in the periphery to the very centre of the mix. Is the voice ours? Have we lost our mind? What is the voice saying? Why is it just that little bit out of reach? Another brash tuneful impact swipes the vision from us, the echo dies out eventually. Low bells play in a monotonous loop, with phasing notes beginning to peel from the sides. Much like the movements from the start this feels like the artist utilising few instruments to convey feelings of fear and uncertainty. But just as it feels as though the direction of the progression is going to reveal itself, it moves away. Heavy, rhythmic impacts move toward the listener. Deeply troubling in their clarity, Diskette Park provides us no misty ambience to hide in. The strange creature lurks around our vicinity, getting ever closer to us. A glance at the window reveals a world in wreck and ruin, as troubling notes tinge the peripheries of the mix and shattering sounds hijack the focus every so often. The impacts move away from us, but the bleak and troubling atmosphere still pervades our experience, until another fizzling hum tears the scene from us and we reach the end.
Diskette Park moves seamlessly from atmospheric discomfort to very sudden and real threat on Deepfall. The artist employs unclear and daunting pads and melodies in the first half, pulling the listener deep into fog and murk. This causes the experience of the second half to be all the more odd in its increased clarity. A truly disconcerting experience from a dynamic artist.