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James Welburn: Sleeper In The Void (LP, Miasmah, April 2021)

I was well-disposed to this record before I listened to it because I had taken a childish pleasure in its title, which I admired for its OTT vibe which put me in mind of a nihilist Dune. So when it opened with a quietly rumbling gong (or something gongy) which you just know is going to crescendo epicly, I was close to sold already. It didn’t disappoint. Welburn does bass and electric guitars, granular synthesis, drum programming, sampling, and objects. This opening track features drums and cymbals from Swedish jazz/metal percussionist Tomas Järmyr, as do a couple of others. The rest of the A-side is basically pretty banging industrial drone metal. Things get rather more mysterious, if not exactly more restrained, on the flip. Two of the tracks feature some rather intense vocals from improvisational singer Juliana Venter, and the other has Norwegian experimentalist Hilde Marie Holsen doing wicked things to a trumpet, as well as some electronics, as a pretty sepulchral ambient interlude. As for the closing track, I saw someone describe it as dancefloor-ready: it has, for various reasons, been a while since I went to a club, and I can’t remember exactly how they work, but if what people go there for is crunching drums, walls of distorted guitar, a spooky synth melody, and a woman wailing in a frankly quite distressing way about sacrifice, then this is definitely going to kill.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Dark Ambient / Drone / Metal.

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