Thursday, 25 July 2019

Acclimate - Dreams of a Mad Titan.

Artist: Acclimate
Catalogue no: HHR52


     1.      Infinity
     2.      Warlock
     3.      Oblivion
     4.      Annihilus
     5.      The World Eater
     6.      Mistress Death

The artist has described this very limited edition cassette (30 copies of which only 7 are left at time of writing) and digital release as Ambient Industrial Space music, but don’t for one minute think this is all whooshes and progressive swellings of major chords, or bleeps and sci-fi stylings. There are elements of these but we’re not talking ‘new age’ blah here: while it’s what I call a ‘quiet’ album, insofar as it never veers into bombast or becomes overwrought, nevertheless a creepiness lurks beneath its fabric that surreptitiously worms its way into the subconscious leaving you puzzlingly unsettled.

‘Infinity’ opens out majestically, filling one with expansive emotions and thoughts, its gentle burblings and minor repeated crescendos both soothing and uplifting, accompanied by a subtle sequenced rhythm that’s barely on the edge of audibility. As an opener though, don’t be fooled by its lustrous beguiling shapes and movements – as calming as it is, what follows takes the album in the opposite direction, away from light and into the darker recesses of mind and universe. ‘Warlock’ pulses into existence, a perhaps mild harbinger of the roiling underbelly that allows the universe to exist as it does. Shimmering accents underscored by a persistent rhythm, counterpointing and complementing, emphasising that one cannot exist without the necessary other.

‘Oblivion’ is where we get to the real heart of this release: spiralling bass introduction, crunches punctuating the emptiness, whines continually striving to climb into the aether, dark breathings, and a distorted voice. This is not the bright vision of ‘Inifinity’ but its complete opposite, a disturbing fractured dream that’s vivid yet elusive and impossible to grasp – its only aftereffect being confusion and agitation. The mood refuses to lighten up on the following offering ‘Annihilus’, a track that only drags us deeper into the maelstrom – in fact it begins with a rattling staccato and a machine-like turbidity, its gravity drawing us ever inward and downward. The ghosts of dead stars and planets abound here, their cries the only reminder they ever existed.

Don’t expect to receive any comfort from the last two tracks either – now that we’ve been offered a vision of the quantum truth we shall just have to accept that this is the reality. The universe doesn’t exist for our comfort; it isn’t required to adapt to us but we, by necessity, have to adapt to it. ‘The World Eater’ brings images of a rogue black hole, an angel of chaos deaf to our pleas for clemency – it is simply here to act out its nature. Rhythmical pulsings presage its approach, and gravity and matter go awry, pulled apart and annihilated – but there is no drama, instead it’s all so matter of fact, mundane even. It surprises us perhaps with its utter banality.

‘Mistress Death’ stealthily sashays onto the starlit walkway, lithe, alluring, and deadly. She is mesmerising, a siren to lure us, an exotic beauty arriving with promises of heaven but it’s all smoke and mirrors. Inside beats a heart as black, or perhaps blacker, as the deepest regions of the limitless abyss. There is no light – just death.

Dreams of a Mad Titan works because for the most part it’s deceptively positive. It initially offers us a vision of a comfortable cotton-wool swaddling heaven-like state of bliss, but then it gradually degenerates into a gangrenous black rot thereby revealing itself as a trap, luring us moth-like and willingly to our destruction. However much we complain, however, this has always been the way of the universe – it is neutral and doles out creation and annihilation equally, whether deserving or otherwise.

Available through Bandcamp here:

Acclimate website:

Psymon Marshall 2019. 

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