Phantom Cadaver - Dwellings of Lost Souls [Self release - 2015]This self-released CDR is restricted to a limited edition of 13 copies, a shame, since it deserves to be heard by many, many more. The release itself couldn’t be any barer: a glossy, double-sided, black and white, card inlay, featuring just the project name, album title, and track titles. (The rest of the information I’ve gleaned from the Discogs website.) The front and back of the inlay feature the same image, possibly a woodland pathway, whilst the inside panels are dominated by a grinning skull. The two tracks, I, and II, are both around 30 minutes long; both are harsh noise walls.
I begins with a quick fizzing burst, before pulling back and settling in for the long haul. This is dominated by a stuttering, broken up, low-mid frequency texture, almost bitcrushed and synth-like, which is split through the speakers. It moves at a steady, slower pace, and is very dry - to the extent that it almost sounds like the result of saturation, or clipping. Around the edges of these textures, dance some incredible treble crackles. They really are exquisite. Later on, they are joined by equally nice textures that are more hollow and rattling. Whilst the piece is essentially static, there is a passage about halfway through where the wall is pared back to reveal spitting reverberating over a low drone; there are also chunkier lumps of noise that appear in the last third. The track ends as it began, rising up into more aggressive skree.
II ploughs a very similar furrow to its predecessor. Again, it is quite dry, blown out, and overwhelmingly static. However, it is perhaps more detailed, and more obliterated than I; its tight, guttural spitting seeming to carry more layers. Throughout the track, there is a noticeable low end drone within the wall, almost working as a melodic element. Around the 18 minute mark, urgent, fizzing treble suddenly emerges, filling out the wall into a torrent - noise raining down. It blazes until the last three minutes are reached, whereupon II drops into stuttering, shuddering noise, almost like throbs from an ancient computer game. Around these, play nice clicking crackles, a beautifully articulated contrast to the more lumpen throbs.
This is a great release; strong, solid work, with a good sense of pacing. Both pieces display some wonderful treble crackle, and are dominated by slightly unusual - or rather less used - textures. The lack of content, or context, to the packaging, means that the listener is merely left with two great walls to get lost in - and they are both very engaging pieces. More good work from Phantom Cadaver…Martin P