Various Artists - Isolationizm [Parkbench Recordings/Smell The Stench - 2012]“Isolationizm” is four way split CDR that offers up six tracks of mainly guitar-less depressive/ambeint black metal that takes in elements of dark ambience, wonky soundtrack, and noise. The split brings together projects from Mexico, Russia, Belarus, and Brazil.
The CDR comes in a jewel case with suitable grim artwork taking in murky & lo-fi bleak pictures of an abounded house, hazed skull like shapes, and blurred/ static hazed woodland pictures.
Opening up the CDR we a track from Monterrey Mexico based project Painless Death. The tracks entitled “Butterflies Flying Around A Dead Body”, and it comes in at just under the six & a half minute mark. The piece starts off been built around a wavering & rudimentary violin or cello saw that sits over a sustained bleak synth drone. To start with a women’s voice slowly talks over the track, but this dissipates with-in a few minutes. Leaving just the forlorn string saw, and a few sudden darts of gruff whispers, and the sustained synth drone. At around the five minute mark the track shifts into a mixture wondering stark piano & backward instrumental elements which play out to the end of the end of the track. This opening track is a passable enough forlorn bit of mood setting, with the clearly rudimentary played instruments adding a wonky charm to the track.
Next up is a lengthy just over 15 minute track from Pskov Russia based project Pentadrvg. The tracks entitled “Her Eyes Are Covered With A Crust Of Ice”, and the tracks starts off with a thin juddering ‘n’ purring haze of noise. With-in a few minutes a slow weaving & echoed tinkling ice vibe keyboard sounds start to dart back & forth over the noise textures- which seem to be hold it’s own in a sort of taut simmering haze( I guess it’s meant to be the frost/ ice). By around the five minute this muffled sort of blunt banging tone is added in, & nearing the 6 minute mark a guitar feedback drone kicks in. As the track goes on the warbling vibe elements seem to get more eerier & pressing mixing in with the sustain guitar feed back tone & the hazed noise matter. At around the 11th minute a more drifting sing song synth texture is added, and this follows the vibes bleak melody. All told it’s a effective & subtle building track that mixes together noise with warbling synth melancholy.
Track three is another lengthy track that comes in at just shy of the fourteen minute mark, it’s entitled “Magic Of Amanita; Mara”, and it’s from Belarus based Ugasanie.
The tracks opens with a mixture of sustained bleak yet dense ambience, and over this is a mixture of loop wolf samples howls, a rudimentary wavering ethno flute textures, and from time to time you also get the odd Jew harp twang too. By around the 7th minute the wolf samples drop out, and we're left we a mixture of swirling ambient synth & ethno ambient flute textures, and later some distant synthetic march drums are added, and in the last few minutes some Russia sounding male talking….it’s better than the first half, but it still doesn’t really do much for me. The track really just seems badly put together, badly/blandly played & composed, and that damn looped wolf sample is extremely grating.
To finish off the release we have a suite of tracks from Brazilian project Northern Forest. Firstly we have “Ao Econtro Da Natureza” which is just over two minutes of clunking 'n' wavering rudimentary synth & synth piano mood setting, mixed with over loud nature samples taking in bird & water sounds . The other two tracks “Triste Entadecer Amazônico” (running just under the seven minute mark) & “Noturna Jornada Através Da Imensidão Dos Campos Distantes”( running just under the ten minute mark), get rid of the piano synth, and focus in on a selection of badly played & wondering cheap synth pre-sets, and over loud nature sounds. All three tracks sound like the where created by a lacklustre teen in their bedroom, and don’t really even have any wonky charm or anything approaching a cohesive atmosphere. Simply put they are truly awful!.
So to sum up this split is very much of a mixed bag, the first two tracks show great promise & are rewarding in their lo-fi & often wonky charm. But the remainder of the split is ill conceived, badly played & often highly trying. I’m giving this three for the first two tracks only…Roger Batty