DarkMatterHalo - Discernible Grid

Label: Hardedge, 2018

Personnel – Hardedge: sound design; Brandon Ross: guitar; Doug Wieselman: guitar.

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Known for its utterly unique experimentalism and obscurity of sound, DarkMatterHalo is a collaborative effort by sound designer Hardedge and guitarists Brandon Ross and Doug Wieselman. Ambling through tapestries of abstract clutter, Discernible Grid is their newest program of six explorative tracks.

Sunk in a pool of well-coordinated electronic effects that include water sounds, oft-repeated chirps, bizarre rattles and grainy scratches, bell chimes, and futuristic noises and vibes, “Sub-urban” maintains the mysterious spaciousness until the end in the company of some eerie guitar work. Delving into a strange, brooding muse, the trio makes us wonder where we are taken, especially when the guitar activity intensifies to create moderate psychedelia.

Remaining torpid and trippy for most of the time, “Gasping Silence” embarks on the tidal ebbs and flows of experimental ambient. The flickering, sometimes murmuring guitars ease the mood, but don’t remove the deep abstraction of the setting.

More palpable in texture and direction, “In Difference” renders a combination of droning vibes and chiming guitar glow in a twitchy crescendo that also incorporates suitable percussive sounds. This dark ritual creates suspense and will leave you under a spell for the time it runs.

If “The Final Tear” is a techno/trance exercise disrupted by a prolonged gust of noise pollution, “Stop Watching” proposes outlandish conversations with plenty of effects, crisscrossing ostinatos, rusty chords, and distorted notes that can be pulled into harmonics or fall into a downward spiral.

Closing out the album, “Fathom” incorporates atmospheric fingerpicking to conceptualize a noir country-ish scenario with occasional bluesy haziness. The music then metamorphoses, exposing electric guitar sounds, in its distorted and pointillistic modes, over a braindance backdrop.

Sidestepping conventions through uncompromising manipulations of sound, this is an intriguing project that will mainly appeal to open-minded listeners.

Grade  B

Grade B

Favorite Tracks:
03 – In Difference ► 05 - Stop Watching ► 06 - Fathom