Threatening Reflections – Mosquito Larvae in the Birdbath – Cassette, C20 – Virtues – VTUL010 – 2023
I’ve bought many releases on Alex Kmet’s Virtues label since it began in 2020. There have been impressive works by Doll, Corporate Park, Jon Mueller, SV8, Fog of Joy, Kate Rissiek and Climax Denial amongst others in that time. I like the presentation and the wide range of work by artists that the label puts out.
This is the second ever appearance by the Climax Denial side project Threatening Reflection, the first was in a split release with Climax Denial on Violent Whatever in 2007 – two sides of the same artist. I like the 16-year gap between releases and this is the first stand-alone release by Threatening Reflections.
The cassette is printed and presented in a pard clouded, part clear cassette case. The inner card folds out and there are images of mysteriously dead animals printed in colour with a shot of a Mosquito larvae with trees and long grass in the background on the inside cover. The artwork clearly and beautifully sets the theme to the work. I say this, as each of the images are like works of art in themselves, with the front cover images seen as either staged scenarios or natural accidents captured within a landscape.
The untitled work becomes a landscape of sound, initially formed through drones that remind me of the work of Angus MacLise or La Monte Young. This quickly moves into its own territory through the dragging vocal sounds, subtle glitch sounds and noises that seem to reference bad weather, each running through the sound at different times. I feel as if I am lost in an American rural landscape that shifts from plaguing me with fear, to overwhelming with natural beauty as I try to navigate it. These aspects cause the release to live up to the threatening part of the name, but it is also serves as a strangely seductive reflection at the same time.
One of my favourite Climax Denial releases is the Sexuality Is a Curse release on the short-lived IDES Recordings label in 2006. To me that recording is Climax Denial presented as something other than the genres that are frequently tied to the project. This release also does that and easily matches Sexuality Is a Curse in terms of how good and how unique it is. Mosquito Larve in the Birdbath is a short but very strong release that demonstrates the different facets of beauty that Alex Kmet can create in his recordings.
One and one alone, 2023.