Sunday, April 6, 2014

Devariate Ion - Wrap Around Constellations

Devariate Ion's latest set of music, "Wrap Around Constellations," is truly a meteor through the heavens.  Star light leaks from the edges of the plastic jewel case (if you're lucky/unlucky enough to find it in that format, as opposed to the mp3 version floating around the global thread-line.)  Your eyes see the flickers and you wonder if you're hallucinating.  Or maybe you're hallucinating.

A flight, full of passengers, disappears.  All hands lost.  An investigator from the FAA is called to investigate the arrival of flight 107, which landed and followed the runway attendant's signals but then turned out to be empty of passengers and pilots alike.  Eventually the FAA investigator walks face first into the propeller.

You hear this as you listen.  The album starts slow, with a wash of what sounds like heavily processed, broken synthesizers, far-away snippets of found sound or just real-world recordings, traffic on a country road, early spring birds.  The entire opening track, "Triangulation through Antares," builds like this, seemingly mounting an aural assault that feels as if it will arrive at any moment, but never does.

You'll need to wait for tracks halfway into the album to finally arrive at the peace of having those expectations met, and then squashed.  But don't expect the sense of peace to last.  As the early, Tangerine Dream like meditations give way to the full assault of what could be an early 80s thrash band by way of some shoe gaze acid metal circa 2005, with vocals so processed they might not be made by a human at all, you'll be able to breath easy, though through your clenched teeth, through that relatively understandable middle section (tracks 5 - "Burned by a Scenseless Mist," and 6 - "Though in Heaven They Will Wash Your Memories Away.")  But the recognizable instrumentation and song structure is quickly obliterated again as you at first drift towards, and are then pulled bodily into,  the labyrinthine and utterly broken ambient sounds atop garbage-disposal-processed track 7 ("You've Lost Your Luncheonette, Peeling,") and then your footing is utterly lost (almost back into Phaedra-era Tangerine Dream, here, though the undercurrent still sounds as if there's a thrash band down beneath the arpeggiated synth washes somewhere) in tracks 8 ("Belly of Erebos") and 9 ("The Lathe of Northern Pennsylvania.")

The album stretches for over 90 minutes, with the final track, the sprawling, cold, and mostly synthesized track 10, "Hope Despite the Harbor of Anhedones," taking up 30 of those.

The distance from emotion that is embodied by the entirety of this production is clearly intentional, but it nonetheless presents an edifice that is very difficult to penetrate.  This feels like an album that might reward someone who is adventurous enough to give it repeated listens, but at the same time the early listens might not offer enough of a foothold to give anyone any reason to do so.


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