“Stark”, “Despairing”... You want it? Yeah, thought so. With his EPs venturing into abstract techno territories, Ryo Murakami’s full lengths strip away most of the techno elements and leave you with growing and groaning drones that are dark and expressive among a deep, industrial backing. Vinyl on Bedouin.
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My favourite thing to do after a sleep-deprived night is listen to an album that’s going to make it hard for me to sleep the night after. Ryo Murakami’s nightmare music marks a divergence from his usual bouts of techno, but ‘Esto’ is a perfect tone poem (or anthology of tone poems), holding on to its vacuum atmospheres and sorrowful drone marches superbly. Horrible stuff, well done.
Its bedrock is dark ambient, but Murakami weaves a rather cinematic journey through ‘Esto’, flourishing the mix of empty sustains and fractured noise with string instruments, scratchy samples that sound like people howling, off-kilter drum fills and cymbals collapsing on the floor. This internal movement lends the record a much-needed character response, preventing it from being little more than a turgid landscape Murakami’s made up and since abandoned.
Murakami’s approach is varied enough that ‘Esto’ could serve as a pretty good dark ambient gateway -- rather than pause on one unchanging brood, he’s crafted bleak vignettes from different abstractions of noise, occasionally inflicting them with a quiet melody, breaking out of pace for a bit of Carpenter (I’m sorry) synth remembrance or bringing some of his techno-influenced sound design. It’s an enrapturing record for many reasons, but only the most hopeless of moods.
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- Esto by Ryo Murakami
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