DANIEL W.J. MACKENZIE / RICHARD A. INGRAM – HALF DEATH
With a title and a cover like this you know you can’t expect the most optimistic album ever. It would’ve been fitting if this album would have been released later, in autumn, instead of mid-summer.
But there’s always beauty in darkness, regardless of the season.
Daniel W.J. Mackenzie (also known as Ekca Liena) and Richard A. Ingram collaborated from remote locations for over two years to create this album – “a sci-fi spiked soundtrack to a theoretical film, depicting largely dark and malevolent themes of dystopia and paranoia.”
The music is highly cinematic indeed: it could’ve easily been a soundtrack to a suspenseful horror movie. “The sonic narrative follows a dynamic path through noisy synthesiser peaks, quiet piano explorations and woozy processed field recordings, carving a restless and unpredictable journey out of silence.”
GAIL PRIEST – SONGS FROM THE OMEGA POINT
When the label is named Metal Bitch Recordings, you don’t expect something as subtle as this. As far as I know, this label is Gail Priest’s own outlet, on which she released her previous Heraclitus In Iceland, as well as a split release with Kate Carr. The name may scare away all of the faint-hearted, and those who remain may be in for a surprise.
With its 22 minutes and four tracks (not counting the bonus track Future Glow that is included in the download), Songs From The Omega Point is a short album (or EP). That’s because the tracks were originally intended to be Priest’s side of a split cassette release, as well as preparatory material for the Sounding The Future installation. The music was ‘too pungent with opera’ to work on the split cassette, and in the installation, only samples were used instead of the composed tracks.
The background concept for this mini-album is highly philosophical: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881- 1995) suggested that “matter becomes more complex over time, eventually reaching a state of consciousness. The Omega Point occurs when humanity has evolved to the ultimate point of complex consciousness and it breaks free rupturing space-time as we know it. Mathematical physicist Frank Tipler ran with this notion proposing that humans will eventually evolve into post-human entities.
Songs from the Omega Point proposes how this universe and its life forms might sound.”
Given the current state of affairs in the world, I somehow doubt if this is a positive development, or rather the complete and irreversible disintegration (which may perhaps be positive in its own way). But Gail Priest’s vision (as well as her sounds) are optimistic:
“Don’t despair, life goes on, just not as we know it.”