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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

White Matter Phantasm - The Temple of the Clay Flower [Nahàsh Atrym Productions - 2015]

Nahàsh Atrym Productions presents The Temple of the Clay Flower by White Matter Phantasm. A lot can be surmised by a name. In the case of the moniker White Matter Phantasm (WMP), I hypothesized that if Black Matter Phantasm (BMP) was the blackened HNW project of Szymkowiak Joseph, then WMP must certainly be his somber...more ambient side. And by Sherlock, I wasn’t far off.

On Temple of the Clay Flower we find a single long track of morose piano playing, minimal walls, drone, field recordings, and ethereal wails. At it’s foundation is what I would consider ANW...namely a persistent, minimal crackle sound, with periodic flourishes of low end, exhaust plume wall. It’s very quiet, and soothing, quite the departure from Joseph’s BMP output. When we’re not floating on air and being carried away by electrical currents, we’re being brought to sadness by somber piano compositions performed by Denis Theval. It’s with Theval’s piano playing that the piece begins. Joined by Joseph’s minimal crackle, the pair weave delicate sounds together through the first 4 minutes of the disc. Throughout the course of the remaining 37:50 minutes, we’re greeted to: billowing plumes of gaseous rumblings, field recordings of birds chirping, flashes of white noise, and angelic wails that bring the piece into the ghost dimension. This is a truly remarkable single track from start to finish. The deviations from pure wall might rankle some purists, but I appreciate the variety of sounds that meld with the focused static and rumbly tones.

The packaging is equally superb. The disc comes housed in a half-size zine style fold-over, with minimal art. The cover has a triangle adorning the front with a symbol in the center that looks similar to the one on the Ignition Complete Services LP. The innards contain more simple shapes and patterns and terse poetic musings. The overall minimalism of the artwork lends well to the sounds presented.

The Temple of the Clay Flower is a beautiful statement of focused sounds without being doctrinaire in discipline. This should appeal to those who like their walls progressive. White Matter Phantasm is a wonderful yang to Black Matter Phantasm’s Yin.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Hal Harmon
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