Beyond Sensory Experience - The End Of It All [Cyclic Law - 2016]On this their third album for Cyclic Law, Beyond Sensory Experience have produced an enjoyable and immersive musical adventure filled with lush yet unsettling melodies and that wonderful sense of darkness that pervades much of Swedish culture. BSE are the Dark Ambient project of Swedish duo Drakh and K. Meitzer from Uppsala to the north of Stockholm and have been making music together since 2001.
Opening track 'Two Ways To Dwell' immediately begins to build a wonderfully creepy atmosphere, the track would not feel out of place sat alongside Sunn O))) on the soundtrack to a modern horror gem like Sinister. The next few tracks continue along similar lines, they are enjoyable and make for a pleasant accompaniment to essay writing.
The next track 'Arc of Desolation' is one of the stronger tracks on the album. A pleasant ambient opening gives way to reverb laden vocals and some deliciously twisted keyboard stabs. This makes for the kind of thing that BSE do very well. I really like when they break out of the standard dark ambient vibe a little into more adventurous territory.
My favourite track on the album however is 'Ends and Histories'. There is a sense of foreboding that pours forth from the opening chords and seems to pervade the whole track. A barely audible voice drifts in and out, almost as if lost in fog. This track has a very creepy, brooding atmosphere, as drones build and fall throughout and yet the track never outstays its welcome. At 8 minutes it is the longest piece on the album, but remains a well crafted and vibrant slice of electronica.
Both 'Properties of Stars' and 'Daunting Decision' are pleasant entries that draw from the same wellspring as the previous tracks. 'Daunting Decision' does however add some nice guitar work into the mix.
'The Unfolding' sees us back in horror soundtrack mode, this would perhaps make a suitable end theme , for a particularly creepy ghost story. I could alternatively see this as a wonderful companion piece to the words of M. R. James. The track features some beautiful piano parts played over some fantastic swirling drones, that remind one of the sea lapping at the foggy Autumn shoreline.
The next track 'The Travels' opens with some almost Carpenter-esque chords. This wouldn't sound out of place on the soundtrack to 'Stranger Things'. It has a wonderful 80s synth soundtrack vibe to it and it benefits greatly from this association.
The final track 'The End of it All' brings what sounds like electric guitar into the mix, and provides a great finish to the album, with more nice drones and reverb drenched vocals providing a great way to finish things off.
Overall a very pleasant entry to their canon. I would love to see them given the chance to write and record a complete horror movie soundtrack. There is enough here to suggest that given that chance they'd create something crawling with dark, atmospheric goodness. My only real criticism, and it is a minor one is that whilst the tracks are all enjoyable enough they do feel a little samey at times. This however is really nit picking, and the album provides some lovely textured soundscapes. I look forward to the day when someone gives them a chance to create that horror movie soundtrack, because I really do think that's the way they're headed.Darren Charles