8/10 Mike Staff review, 16 May 2012
French label Tamed Records are only in their infancy but they have impressed us weirdo snobs at Normans so far with those two bong-tastic 'Chaudelande' LPs from Gnod and a spooky and mysterious 7” offering from Chicaloyoh. This time round they're heading way out into the deep, impenetrable left field that is dark ambience with this split LP from Altar Of Flies and Mirrors Are Black, two Swedish men who wear glasses and make spooky noises in the dark on their own for fun.
Mirrors Are Black has a cat and is doing something marginally more “melodic” than what's to be found on the other side, but I mean that in a droney Deathprod-ish kind of way, so don't expect pop songs. There's dark creakiness and malevolence that brings Decimus to mind but also a hint of astral prettiness that makes it quite listenable and strangely uplifting and cleansing. The organic electronic texture building is dense and dark but even when it sounds like someone's drilling through the wall next door while you're trying to watch Judge Dredd it's rarely overbearing (although there's a sustained feedback screech about halfway through that seemed to be making everyone in the office a bit uncomfortable), and I'm even hearing bursts of bubbly high-pitched dub wibbles poking out in places. By his third and final track he hits on a clanking industrial post-dub groove with gnarled astral synth drones to fine effect.
Altar Of Flies has a baby and his side has two long tracks full of creaking and grating and groaning and various discomfiting sounds, which build and recede quite organically, but there's not much to hold onto here by way of melody so it can be a bit of an endurance test in places, kind of like some of the more “difficult” stuff you hear on Utech, I guess. Certainly not everyone's cup of tea and I think the Mirrors Are Black side is the one I'd keep coming back to for day-to-day listening, but these are both evocative, uncomfortable efforts for paranoid souls.
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- Split by Altar Of Flies / Mirrors Are Black
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