∆aimon - Flatliner
Witch House When one invokes the symbol for sulphur (brimstone) from the outset, the intention is clearly incendiary. It's a syncretic explosion of imagery that encompasses everything from the apocalyptic excesses of the Book of Revelation, to the driving force behind the elusive notion of Thelemic will, to that immortal line in The Crow: "I want you to set a fire so goddamn big, the gods will notice us again".

∆aimon aim high. The fledgling movement that they identify with is but a sapling in a vast, dark forest of firmly established hierarchies. But the blessing of youth lies in its malleability. Make no mistake : witch house is evolving. It is a rare treat to witness music of this caliber ascending from an ideal that many imagined to be little more than a joke.

The first, and most striking observation, is that this EP has a far cleaner, crisper, more clearly defined sound than previous offerings from this project. It's musical cohesion of the highest order, but more importantly a rebellion against the idea that this form of expression benefits from over saturated reverbs and tiresome pulsating drones. Perhaps the whole lo-fi cassette / mixtape ethic is to blame, but far too much witch house sinks into the sonic equivalent of a Scandinavian bog. We have none of that mud here, it's replaced instead with a diverse range of influences that encompass everything from established industrial sensibilities to the darker reaches of cinematic sound design.

The opening track "current" is so well executed that it is almost a summary of all that is to come. The vocal work of husband and wife team Brant and Nancy sits perfectly above an ever evolving bed of dark grandeur. Ethereal strings sit comfortably with throbbing synth lines and ancient plucked melodies that are pleasingly reminiscent of Distorted Memory's latest offering. It's a very dynamic recording, with some of the best moments being build-ups that are suddenly pulled out from under the listener, leaving the sudden impression of an echoing cavernous space.

"CHOKE" lures us in with haunting precision - a piano playing deep in its register while menacing strings provide the perfect counterpoint. Surprisingly, the sudden cocking and discharge of a firearm does not unbalance this sense of continuity. This is grimly disturbing music.

The ringing of cathedral bells heralds the beginning of the monastic day, but the bells that begin the track "mirrors fade" are twisted into a more esoteric visage. It's a track that brings to mind crumbling ruins set amongst frozen vistas - the sort of music that reeks of decay yet somehow manages to glorify the end of things.

The title track "FLATLINER" features some of the best vocal work thus far, a fine demonstration of the synergy that is displayed by Brant and Nancy. The calibre of the vocal work on this release is really one of the aspects that set it apart from similar bands. It's nearly impossible to pick a favourite track amidst this level of quality, but this one would certainly be in the running.

"EVIL EYE" is just beautiful. It's an evocation of ancient eastern power manifested into almost five minutes of finely crafted music. I have no idea how these guys manage to turn synths into spectres, but by the end of the track you might be wondering, too. The bed of the track is an eastern influenced plucked melody that carries the listener through wave after wave of swirling imagery. As the last track of the album proper fades to silence, I'm left with a lingering sense of wonder that is going to be bringing me back to this recording many times over.

The remixes included with the extended edition are good, make no doubt. However, the core album has such a visionary sense of cohesion that I would far prefer to listen to it over and over than delve into someone else's reimagining. That being said, the Encephalon remix is possibly the pick of the bunch, taking the vocal chorus in a very interesting new direction. It's layered with a more traditional synth bass line, while still retaining the melodic elements that make the original so powerful.

The Haujobb remix of "Flatliner" is a deep space transmission, with cascading synths setting the tone for a very intriguing re-imagining of the title track. The extended edition of the release ends with a TEXTBREAK remix of "Emptiness", an interesting piece that is somewhat reminiscent of Mater Suspiria Vision's more hypnotic stylings.

In the Thoth tarot, sulphur is represented by Atu IV, The Emperor. Indeed, his limbs are arranged into a representation of the glyph for sulphur. Sulfur is activity, energy, desire. But it is short lived, it burns itself out far too quickly. 2012 has been THE year for the blossoming of witch house music. Let us all hope that the bar has been permanently raised, that it was not just a flash in the pan. This music deserves to be respected, it deserves its seat amongst the pantheon of more established art forms.

I have no doubt that this album is one of my personal musical highlights of the year, and I know that I am not alone in this view.
5
Brutal Resonance

∆aimon - Flatliner

When one invokes the symbol for sulphur (brimstone) from the outset, the intention is clearly incendiary. It's a syncretic explosion of imagery that encompasses everything from the apocalyptic excesses of the Book of Revelation, to the driving force behind the elusive notion of Thelemic will, to that immortal line in The Crow: "I want you to set a fire so goddamn big, the gods will notice us again".

∆aimon aim high. The fledgling movement that they identify with is but a sapling in a vast, dark forest of firmly established hierarchies. But the blessing of youth lies in its malleability. Make no mistake : witch house is evolving. It is a rare treat to witness music of this caliber ascending from an ideal that many imagined to be little more than a joke.

The first, and most striking observation, is that this EP has a far cleaner, crisper, more clearly defined sound than previous offerings from this project. It's musical cohesion of the highest order, but more importantly a rebellion against the idea that this form of expression benefits from over saturated reverbs and tiresome pulsating drones. Perhaps the whole lo-fi cassette / mixtape ethic is to blame, but far too much witch house sinks into the sonic equivalent of a Scandinavian bog. We have none of that mud here, it's replaced instead with a diverse range of influences that encompass everything from established industrial sensibilities to the darker reaches of cinematic sound design.

The opening track "current" is so well executed that it is almost a summary of all that is to come. The vocal work of husband and wife team Brant and Nancy sits perfectly above an ever evolving bed of dark grandeur. Ethereal strings sit comfortably with throbbing synth lines and ancient plucked melodies that are pleasingly reminiscent of Distorted Memory's latest offering. It's a very dynamic recording, with some of the best moments being build-ups that are suddenly pulled out from under the listener, leaving the sudden impression of an echoing cavernous space.

"CHOKE" lures us in with haunting precision - a piano playing deep in its register while menacing strings provide the perfect counterpoint. Surprisingly, the sudden cocking and discharge of a firearm does not unbalance this sense of continuity. This is grimly disturbing music.

The ringing of cathedral bells heralds the beginning of the monastic day, but the bells that begin the track "mirrors fade" are twisted into a more esoteric visage. It's a track that brings to mind crumbling ruins set amongst frozen vistas - the sort of music that reeks of decay yet somehow manages to glorify the end of things.

The title track "FLATLINER" features some of the best vocal work thus far, a fine demonstration of the synergy that is displayed by Brant and Nancy. The calibre of the vocal work on this release is really one of the aspects that set it apart from similar bands. It's nearly impossible to pick a favourite track amidst this level of quality, but this one would certainly be in the running.

"EVIL EYE" is just beautiful. It's an evocation of ancient eastern power manifested into almost five minutes of finely crafted music. I have no idea how these guys manage to turn synths into spectres, but by the end of the track you might be wondering, too. The bed of the track is an eastern influenced plucked melody that carries the listener through wave after wave of swirling imagery. As the last track of the album proper fades to silence, I'm left with a lingering sense of wonder that is going to be bringing me back to this recording many times over.

The remixes included with the extended edition are good, make no doubt. However, the core album has such a visionary sense of cohesion that I would far prefer to listen to it over and over than delve into someone else's reimagining. That being said, the Encephalon remix is possibly the pick of the bunch, taking the vocal chorus in a very interesting new direction. It's layered with a more traditional synth bass line, while still retaining the melodic elements that make the original so powerful.

The Haujobb remix of "Flatliner" is a deep space transmission, with cascading synths setting the tone for a very intriguing re-imagining of the title track. The extended edition of the release ends with a TEXTBREAK remix of "Emptiness", an interesting piece that is somewhat reminiscent of Mater Suspiria Vision's more hypnotic stylings.

In the Thoth tarot, sulphur is represented by Atu IV, The Emperor. Indeed, his limbs are arranged into a representation of the glyph for sulphur. Sulfur is activity, energy, desire. But it is short lived, it burns itself out far too quickly. 2012 has been THE year for the blossoming of witch house music. Let us all hope that the bar has been permanently raised, that it was not just a flash in the pan. This music deserves to be respected, it deserves its seat amongst the pantheon of more established art forms.

I have no doubt that this album is one of my personal musical highlights of the year, and I know that I am not alone in this view. Dec 27 2012

Julian Nichols

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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