3 out of 5
Label: Hydra Head Records
Produced by: Brian Lustmord
I’m gonna go ahead and suggest that you probably have to be on a different wavelength than m’self to get immersed in Brian Lustmord’s Dark Matter release. I’m by no means an ambient aficionado, but there are releases in that vein that have very much affected me, and that I can enjoy. Dark Matter is conceptually interesting – based off of / constructed around sounds captured from an “audio library of cosmological activity,” and themed around its titular form – but it’s so, so dang sparse that I can’t really do much with it as a standalone piece of listening material. Given its breadth – with its digital form stretching longer than an hour across three tracks, edited down into four 17ish minute pieces on vinyl – and Lustmord’s “dark ambient” genre leanings, one might worry that there’d be too much downtime on the album, but that’s not the issue, as the slow rumble and waves of sounds that perpetually emanate across the pieces are aurally interesting, and notable, but without thinking about what I’m hearing too much, it’s just not necessarily grabbing. If you do think about it, and wonder at how the stretches of empty blackness out there in the yonder can make vaguely disconcerting burbles and animal-like warbles, then there’s a bit more to it, but that also only took me so far.
Found sounds that work their way into my ambient library can be manipulated to great effect, but just listening to nature (on album, anyway) doesn’t do much for me. The construction of Dark Matter is certainly intriguing, and the pulsing flow of the album is admirably controlled, but it still falls into that type of category to me – just listening to X, though with X being deep spaaaaace. If you’d like to zen out to something that will potentially give you the ookies, it’s likely an effective listen.
I did give both the digital and vinyl versions a go through, and can’t discern enough of a difference, though my better computer speakers and the ability to play the digital start to finish without having to flip a record did make me prefer that format.