William Fowler Collins - The Resurrections Unseen [Type Records - 2011]There must be something out there in the desert. The southwestern region of the United States has a decades-long history producing some of the world’s premier ambient and drone music stretching back to the early 1980s shift from sequencer-driven progressive synth to space ambient by longtime resident Steve Roach. Continuing this evolution from the 1990s to today is the duo Voice of Eye, calling to mind the more shamanistic elements of Native American life in the desert (a sort of earthy alchemy realized through the use of their home-made instruments). Hailing from New Mexico, William Fowler Collins’ reflects some of the darker and more sinister elements of this arid landscape on his newest full-length, The Resurrections Unseen.
The subtleties of the early portion of the record unfurl themselves as shadows do following a fading orange sunset. A deep, bass-y sine-drone establishes this darkness, and a quasi-melodic wafting high-register tone serves as a ghostly mesmerizing presence. An uneasy minor chord comprised of windswept and eroded origin raises the level of tension midway through the album in “Abattoir”, only to subside in an uneventful (although highly effective) strangled plinking sound. “Warm Transport” calls to mind the stillness of timeless, monolithic mesas in the dark, and the album closes out with the spectral AUM in “Ghost Choir”.
The album as a whole works for me as a representation of the desert night: filled with unseen dangers, portents of potential doom, and perhaps even of cultures lost to antiquity. Indeed, the album’s title hints at ancient yet none-the-less malevolent goings-on in the dark. It is an album that is almost completely comprised of elements familiar to listeners of Thomas Köner… or Lustmord for that matter, but despite these similarities, Collins makes these sonic properties his own and The Resurrections Unseen never sounds like a cheap or cloying imitation. This is recommended for nighttime astral projection, transitory nirodha states and Aztec-styled ritual sacrifice.