SEPL+NEAR DARK MATTER BRUTALISM experimental music review




Jeremy Sheehy

March 15, 2022

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

SEPL+NEAR DARK MATTER explore the sonic nature of our built environments on this enthralling drone release

Experimental music has long been obsessed with the sound of the natural world; natural sounds and field recording litter some of the most popular recordings in the genre. Still, not as much attention has been given to the sound of manufactured environments. Many of us spend a large portion of our lives in these manufactured spaces, so it is refreshing when these spaces are explored in music. On BRUTALISM, SEPL+NEAR DARK MATTER manage to translate the hulking physicality of these spaces into sound, providing the listener with a chance to better relate to the areas and materials around them. 

From the first moments of BRUTALISM, the listener immediately becomes aware of just how much space these sonic structures contain; every sound is drenched in a deep reverb, implying a monstrously large environment, but an oddly familiar one. Each track of this collection uses a different material to build a sonic representation of the physical space that material would help to create. This allows for a more intimate understanding of these materials; on GLASS the listener can hear a subtle ringing sound, much like tones of a glass harp, while also hearing the deeper resonance of a monolithic glass panel and the slow rain-like sounds of its shattered remains falling into a pile. The rest of the collection follows a similar formula, evoking the natural sounds of each material, allowing them to grow and evolve before reaching their end. Some materials eventually crumble under their own weight while others simply reach their logical end, signifying that nothing is forever; even these hulking structures of sound will one day crumble into dust. 

At its heart, BRUTALISM shows an almost spiritual-like reverence to the massive constructed environments of the modern world. These structures are something to be both marvelled at and feared, but most of all, they are something to be understood. Through these soundscapes the listener is granted an opportunity to intimately listen to and experience the materials of the constructed world and hopefully gain a deeper understanding of the places they inhabit.