Music Reviews
Netherworld

Netherworld

Vanishing Lands

Glacial Movements

I find Netherworld to be one of the most enigmatic bands going. They’ve got several albums of arctic ambient noise out there, and it is the least danceable music ever. The motivation here is not to get you hopping, it’s not to help you get a girlfriend, it’s to block out all that urban noise and let you focus like a Walmart laser pointer.

As I track Vanishing Lands there’s a bird outside my window, and the phone is ringing. I’d like to see who it is, but a growler or two are threatening to swamp my laptop. Moans and groans of the dead complain, a keening wind howls, and glaciers proceed to glaciate. They may be in global trouble, but they remain huge to us tiny humans.

I drift over to “Thwaites.” Here, ice drifts downslope, where more of its underbelly becomes warmed by barely liquid water. Ice squeaks. Odd gastropods cower on the seabed. I am relaxed, and the leaf blower brigade in the backyard becomes overwhelmed by the ice. I’m static, yet mobile, if only slightly.

The sun tilts us slightly to one side. “Stillness beneath the ice pack” mediates the transaction. Silence erupts with a burst of synthesizers set to avoid all melody. Hissing in the background recalls rain yet unfrozen. Give it time. Chords swell and recede, the earth’s axis tilts a bit and darkness engulfs us. I should worry, but I can’t, there is no focus to recede from, only the flux of gravity waves nudging the ice pack to the edge of the world.

Yes, we are on the edge of the world. We passed ultima Thule an eon ago. The cold persists. The ice persists. Time persists. But we no longer persist. All we can hope for is fossilization over the upcoming eons, and then a nice place to stay, like a glass box in a future natural history museum.

Small hyperactive preteens will silence when they see us. A sound will leak out of our past: the title track of this icy collection: “Vanishing Lands.” We had our chance, and now can only aspire to be examples to future patrons. And the darkness falls as ice still overwhelms and grows.

Sleep well, fellow humans. Sleep well.

Vanishing Lands


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