Sunday, 12 May 2019

Testing Vault - Amnesia Milk

Testing Vault – Amnesia Milk. 2xcdr, 2019, Looney Tic Productions, EAFMC0191.

Amnesia Milk.
1.    A Homage to Alan Lamb (Prelude)
2.    Amnesia Milk.
3.    Digest.
4.    A Friendly Light.
5.    Pale Pink.
6.    Blackout.
7.    Contempt (A Homage to Alan Lamb).

Amnesia Milk Coda (Bonus Disc)

1.    Dark Light, Dark Fire, Scared Kid.
2.    Milk Amnesia, Coda Part 1.
3.    Milk Amnesia Coda Part 2.
4.    Fingers in the Hole. (w/ Werewolf Jerusalem)

I’ve bought most of the Testing Vault releases since the debut L'Umor Finstere in 2003. Over the years I have seen the project develop and morph many times over. There have been around 30 releases on his own Looney Tic label and other labels including Hallow Ground, BeTon and Final Muzik. It’s been good to see a large body of work spread across many formats and collaborations over the last 16 years. 2 CDs is the average span of a TV release, there have been boxes of 3-6 CDs in recent years, a single disc album is considered short by TV standards.

There have been key influences on Testing Vault, but the Angus MacLise influence has really pulled the project to the edges of its Industrial roots. Testing Vault still lies in the odd esoteric, ambient territory that it has for a long time, with odd being the ever-growing key word. These odd elements seem to grow and are highlighted as they’re dragged along the increasingly stripped down, sparse sound of the project. I’d played thebighostanimal boxset earlier today and there are elements that point towards the development towards this album, yet Amnesia Milk has a focused vision of its own. The theme of wind musician Alan Lamb crops up continuously, his use of metal instrumentation (subtly) has links to the metal scraping of TV, here it serves as an influence to shift its focus and help it pull and embed it into the sound further.

The warped, delirious vocals come in and out of the album, as if offering a brief narrative before long ambient passages play out. The even quieter ambient parts are very strong and challenge. The second disc is made of tracks not originally featured on the single disc version of the album but recorded during that period. These really expand the range of the sessions; they are all diverse and strong. Some of the drone pieces are really drawn out, becoming long meditations upon themselves. The album also features noises by Werewolf Jerusalem on the final track. 

So, facts time, is this a good Testing Vault album? Yes, it’s a very good Testing Vault album, if not; an excellent one. This is another strong album to an impressive body of work. I see the project is sailing off in its own direction, it sounds way different from a few years ago. As to where it’s going, that’s always the mystery.

Choppy Noodles 2019

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