Music Reviews
bvdub & Netherworld

bvdub & Netherworld


Glacial Movements

As the ice caps slowly melt and leave behind rings on the earth, Netherworld continue in their quest to at least capture the gestalt of the event, even if they cannot re-freeze the missing caps. I am apparently an expert on Alessandro Tedeschi, the enigmatic musical pioneer, and his works, and if nothing else, it shows how obscure skills can grow you personally.

Equilibrium strokes straight down Netherworld’s swim lane, this time with bvdub, and a variety of electronic boxes and bits of software all work to build, amplify, and express the feeling of the moment.

I’m deep into the first track, “No Trees for Miles.” Little loops of noise, a ponderous drum beat, and distorted vocals swell and cover the listening chair in molecules of frozen oxygen and carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Ah, nitrogen! Mother to us all! Now the sound fades, yet we traversed a mere 30% of the track. The sound rises, the sound fades… I press on to track two, “Darkness From the Sun.” Here sound begins small, a mere whisper of a whisper. There might be a whale calling to his mates, or the sound of the soundless aurora borealis. I wait patiently. The earth cools ever so slightly. The stars burn, cold and distant. I am cold, but nearby. The musicians tease us. Will we expand this theme? Freeze it nearby? Collapse it into a very small black hole? I wait on. Now a faster modulation flutters along. Perhaps the ghost of a steam engine from the last century, or a Russian submarine on patrol in disputed lands recently made viable as lower areas warm.

BAM! A wave of new sounds washes me overboard. I seek air and I seek melody and find neither. We skip ahead. “Seas of Stones and Sand” flows. What is this? Another lost world? Another slow modulation that promises to build, overwhelm, and eventually smother us all? Our sampled vocalist friend reappears. I think there is a message but I can’t make it out. I follow for a while, but she outruns me and I am wrapped up in a dream I cannot escape. It’s not a bad dream nor a good dream, it’s just a thing that happens in the night. It happens to me. I let it happen. Soon we will glide into the closing track. I only know this because I memorized the press release, and that is the most important part of this task: knowing when to stop. I stop at “Ice on Fire.” The ice is, of course, cold. So cold the vapors condense and form ice bits inside of ice bits. The ice is old, the air is cold, and the music is cold. The sky drones, the ice burns internally, releasing even more cold. I have never been this cold. I find myself stuck to the ice chair I support myself with. Eventually chords swell and the sky above emits a soft glow. The light is moving, but I am immobile.

I think I will stay here. I’m very comfortable with the cold, and a male vocal joins the condensate surrounding me. I think it is time to rest. I shall rest. But the ice, the ice will move on slowly and eternally.

Glacial MovementsEquilibrium

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