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Eclectic Earwig Reviews

Eclectic Earwig Reviews


by Viridian Sun
Hypnos Records, 1999

	From the electronic tomb of gloom comes this album by the Pacific
Northwest-based Michael Griffin and David Tollefson. The album was recorded
live in the studio, with Griffin on synthesizers and Tollefson on “treated
guitars.” The layers of modification are so heavy, though, that you can’t
usually tell that guitars are being played. It all sounds like strict
	This set of compositions is non-melodic, to put it mildly. “Music” seems
too sunny and banal a term for this subterranean and murky soundscape. It is
heavily dependent on loops and repetitions; you hear drones, whines, pulses,
sizzles, squeals, and industrial grinding and chugging. Every once in a
while a recognizable electric guitar note or two surfaces and then is
whirled away in an echoing loop-reverb.
	It is not all one long sameness, though. And these guys do have a strong
sense of musical/noise history. Track 3, “Elixir Sonic” has a “retro” sound
that refers back to the early electronic music of the ‘50s and ‘60s by
Stockhausen and other European pioneers. Other tracks have noises that sound
like they come from old science-fiction movies; if a faster-than-light drive
existed, this is what it might sound like. Many of the electric
guitar-created sounds were first heard in the ‘60s during spacey “feedback”
jam sessions.
	This is not sound for the casual listener. The pulsing metallic drones,
shuddering atmospherics, and echo loops can actually make an unwary hearer
queasy (track 5 is called “VoidVertigo”). The last track, “Perihelion,”
emits an inexorable rhythmic grinding, the sound of a machine that crushes
souls like scrap cars; the track ends with muffled wails from atonal pipes
(actually made on electric guitar). It’s a soundtrack for a nightmare –
definitely not something that you’d want to listen to without mental
preparation, unless you are one of the few lucky people who live a truly
Gothic-industrial lifestyle.
	I must commend Griffin and Hypnos for the wonderful, alchemical-influenced
name of “Viridian Sun,” as well as the evocative and enigmatic names of the
various cuts on this album: “Axion Sunburst,” “Pelior is V,” “Ion Or.” There’s
an aura of Weird Science about this album which makes me smile in the
middle of its unremitting obscurity.

HMGS rating: 6

Hannah M.G.Shapero

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