Donor Lens - Desire Path
May 6, 2022
Juddered samples reach out into a distorted and unfriendly landscape in Bodies Don’t Feel. From the very beginning Zer0 れい and J_ade_ fill the atmosphere with incredible sound design that causes the listener to recoil and engage simultaneously. A voice reaches over the thundering corruption that positions itself as the main hook of the song. Keys begin to try and make melodic sense of the song. And as they try, horrid machinated sounds attempt to mirror their tunefulness only to result in dissonant screeching of metal. The tune recited by the keys struggles through the sludge the artists concoct. Walls of corroded viscera fall down on top of one another as thick layers of sound are exenterated by the strike of the beat. The keys become more frantic as space for them clears. Both halves of the track contrast each other, yet both emit this dark and melancholic sense of corruption that draws the ear and balances itself between melody and dissonance. A video accompaniment for the song is available to view here.
Broken Vessels begins with a beautiful synth sound struggling through layers of thick crackling fuzz. Soon another voice can be heard. Alone; it gives no solace to the listener. It feels as though we are worlds away from any sense of community or civilisation as the atmosphere the artists create is devoid of life. A stand-alone piano riff sings out above all else, a simple melody, but one that sheds light on the dark nether-regions of the artists’ creation.
Highways crashes into the song before with huge, inhuman drum hits. They strike sporadically. Sounding at different velocity’s, the feeling is almost one of violence. The sense of the track is kept almost all the way through on the precipice of some cursed crescendo. A lone voice once again laments, a sense of humanity in an otherwise destitute soundscape.
Crossroads gives us a brief, sleepy insight into the world we inhabit. It almost feels as if we are sneaking through back roads and alleys to get away from something.
In Midnight Flights we find a horrific machine feeding birdsong through an endless loop and an eerie industrial sound spewing out with it. The intensity of the sequence is undeniable, but is soon quashed by a warbling synth pad sound. It stops and starts, unsure of itself. We are slowly fed through to some euphoric place, a voice coos gently with cushioning melodies as the alien landscape whirs and spins around it. Impossible to place in one location, the album seems to be some sort nameless, amorphous force. Sometimes incisive and violent, sometimes calm and meditative. The voice in the track is graceful enough to fend off any other machinations that could have been revealed.
Version of Truth drags a sporadically repeating sample from the song before. Like some floundering remnant of digital code, it cries a few times and disappears. The landscape of the track is overcome by a pad that forces us into submersion. Again, a voice sings above the disjointed melodies below. Joined by an automated male presence spitting out inaudible sentences and paragraphs, the voice riffs shining a human light upon the album.
Stuck blasts us into the middle of some digitised Egyptian landscape. A triangle pings into the distance as the female voice grows violent and angry. Shouting, her exclamations seems to go unheeded, repeating herself obsessively in a style reminiscent of a demonic Ellie Rowsell. We find ourselves in the middle of a labyrinthine organ sequence that leads us around blind corners and into dead ends. Slowly a rhythm floats back in, as the female voice reaches across to us from some unseen location.
Quick Fix sheds light on the track before it with a hopeful, sporadic pad sound. The voice begins to recite the hook ‘I am broken, looking for a quick fix’ so swiftly and gently Zer0 れい and J_ade_ interject on the cold atmosphere with a human touch. The voice and pad repeat themselves together at points, stuck in the same hiccuping loop. The atmosphere has changed completely from the industrial harshness of the beginning. The voice riffs against the emotive samples pad sequence as more commanding, invasive sounds begin to perforate the aura created. A firm vocal note drives the sounds away, and once again it is just her and the pad caught in a glitching pirouette.
Crystal Knives invites desert sands feel warm at night to collaborate. A gentle, glissando piano collage floats atop a muffled low pad. The female voice continues to lament. Background noise fades in, a conglomeration of voices lay an uncertain backdrop, as if we watch a park full of life and movement from some other dimension. Quickly that vision is taken from us, percussive elements begin to turn the scene into a slightly intimidating mesh of random drumbeats and heavy-set synth sounds.
Trip through the Terminal begins with the familiar sound of a foyer announcement. Upon disappearing, we find ourselves in the same atmosphere as before. The voice rises in intensity, and a wasp-like bassline hisses, hovering around us. The artists are able to shift the mood in a matter of seconds. The listener can almost hear the mood change when the sounds stop for that beat longer. The heavy lifting performed by the two artists in turning such a multi-faceted sound from dark to light is incredibly impressive. Voices chatter behind the violent buzzing sound. It increases in volume and size, commandeering the whole of the stereo field.
Escape Velocity brings more impactful percussion. A bass sound hums with anticipation as a rhythmic and almost playful sinister tune begins. The percussion lashes against the large bass entity. It’s low frequencies remain unhindered, but we certainly have arrived back at the gaping mouth of the artists more abrasive style.
Calls from Lampesuda brings choral vocals to the fore. An automated voice ponders whether we have sustained enough intellectual sustenance, and injects some ‘classical music’ for us to enjoy. This instance furthers the listeners confusion as to what space they occupy. It almost seems like some sort of Ellison-esque AI is gifting us this music that it believes is soothing and beautiful, but instead is tortured and harmful.
A slow, rhythmic sequence begins in Twilight Flights with frequently striking bass notes and heavy-handed cymbal work. A slowly blooming melody begins amidst the crashing percussion. The female voice begins once again, pushing her vocal lines further and further through the prison of crashing high-frequency dissonance wrought by the cymbals. The drum sequencing is a marvel, on one part heavily novelty, classic drum sounds almost mock the grandiose aesthetic. But on the other hand, each sound hits with such an intensity that it is undeniably affecting. As the sky clears above us, a timid sun paints waves of orange light over the blue flowing heavens. The drums crash, the vocalist continues to breathe her voice into proceedings. The result is one of the standout moments on the album.
猫 シ Corp. now joins the two artists for Volbura. Multi-faceted noise wavers and sets itself down beside us like some huge spaceship. Thundering noise cloaks the laser-like undulations of some unknown machine. The song flows with the anonymity of water under ice. As if we are seeing something happen, obscured but visible. Random noises interject at a heightened volume as the cloud of noise builds. Percussive elements try and reign in the growing tide of sound. But the three artists create something that they cannot contain, and it runs amok over the entirety of Volbura. As if the industrious sounds of the album had been machinations to hide or conceal some great shrouded beast. The voice calls out to the heavens once again, a mainstay in the artists’ efforts now that fits perfectly and is beautifully executed.
Iedera hits with a marching, somnambulant evil sound. Dulled notes lift it on occasion, but it draws back to the same pedal note. The sequence breaks, and almost tuneless terror is pushed to the fore. Cacophonous beeping finds its way through the clatter, and the bassline begins once again. The artists have lost none of their skill and mastery as we come toward the closing song.
Pristine crackling and glitching of machinery emits broken sound all around us. We seem to stand in a clear pathway amidst the sparking remnants of something huge. The death march is over. The voice calls to us from across the sky. The industrious entities that seemed to wreak havoc throughout the album flash their last reams of data and slowly fade, as a nauseous pad stumbles through toward us.
Dynamic in its delivery, Zer0 れい & J_ade_ create a troubling and at points outrightly violent atmosphere. One can recognise the brilliant sound-weaving of Helveterra, and with the help of J_ade_, YTSFWYHC shoots a laser-guided focus at something humongous in stature.
Listen in full/purchase here: https://aloecityrecords.bandcamp.com/album/you-too-should-fear-what-you-have-created