8/10 Ant Staff review, 14 December 2016
‘Diverted Units’ is the inaugural release on promising new label Holodisc, and marks the debut solo record by Swedish composer and electronic musician Maria W Horn. Working in the realm of extreme computer music, her previous work has come out via Swedish cassette label XKatedral, Creative Sources and Joachim Nordwall’s iDEAL Recordings label.
‘Unit I’ opens the mini-LP with pulverising blasts of digital sound, like a computerised Pan Sonic -- were they working in the digital as opposed to analogue domain. It’s immediately apparent that rather than being a dry academic chin-stroking sonic art affair or pure nihilistic power electronics record, ‘Diverted Units’ is a celebration of the power and sheer force of high impact sound and its effect on both mind and body.
‘Unit II’ is like being zapped by lasers and undergoing some sort of mind reading experiment being executed by a droid. The sound palette feels extremely high resolution, with the high end sounds gleaming like crystal. The delicate twinkles of ‘Unit IV’ are so brittle, they feel like they could disintegrate from the surrounding, ricocheting blasts of corrosive sound before they actually reach the ears. ‘Unit V’ sounds like the resurrection of an army of dead machines -- all cranking, grinding gears and mechanisms, weapons locking into place, reassembled, fired up and stomping aggressively.
Closer ‘Unit XXX’ is the records longest track. A ten and a half minute piece that at first gently simmers with fluttering drones - like pristine metal surfaces reflecting and rippling in water, before siren like wails increase in intensity, until they morph into a sizzling caustic drone which reaches a frantic noisy climax and then filters, fizzles out, dissolves and retreats, leaving a trail of sparks and shadow in its wake. Impressive stuff.
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