vÄäristymä & DRS – Minimalia Nocturna

DRS is an Italian solo project, based around tapes, field recordings and analogue synthesizers. vÄäristymä (Finnish for dIstortion) is a rather old experimental project with two members, sporting a discography (and a filmography) as long as your arm. As Eighth Tower Records expands beyond being a label for (excellent – #1, #2, #3) compilations, the time has come for these two bands to get their acts together and put out a split. The structure is a bit different from most splits, with tracks alternating between the two bands involved.

DRM opens with “äyahuasca”. A minimialistic rhythm drives a thick carpet of drones, synths, bells and sounds forward. Dreams are conjured, the darkness is kept in check by beauty, even as the beauty is surrounded by darkness. A drunken evening by the sea, old wounds almost healed. Eleven minutes of afterthought, serving as an introduction. vÄäristymä follows with “radiopurkaus” – a glitchy affair of disconnected sounds, forming a vaguely rhythmic whole. If someone took a harshness vaccum cleaner to Japanese Torture Comedy Hour, sucked out the feedback violence, and replaced it with glitchy clicks and gloomy, reverb infested synth sounds, this would be the result.

And thus the album progresses. DRS keeps things largely ambient, even if it is mostly a rather musical and melodic interpretation thereof. There are drones and field recordings, but it is all rather intense and not at all as ethereal as most representatives of the genre would tend to be. You can hear when the keys are pressed on the synth, in a sense, and there’s a very interesting intensity going on. “äcarya” is perhaps the most traditional ambient track, but even there you can feel uncommon ideas percolating beneath the surface. vÄäristymä is even less generic and predictable, switching between different styles with great ease. With “epäluulo” they mix synths, glitchy clicks and flat out noise to produce a very peculiar industrial track, which may or may not be our favorite of the bunch here.

Minimalia Nocturna is a very inventive album, combining two extremely different brands of experimental electronic music to create something that certainly never gets boring. Alternating between the soft, threatening soundscapes of DRS and the bizarre sonic experiments of vÄäristymä, the totality is still held together by a diffuse, yet convincing sense of shade and oddity. It bodes well for the future of the label, as well as for the continued well-being and creative output of the two bands involved. For 7 Euros, a download can be yours from Eighth Tower Records.

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