Sihir - The Other World [Self Release - 2019]The Other World is the first release from Sihir- a new project from highly prolific & multiple projects linked French noise maker Julien Skrobek. The release is presented in the form of a C20, which Julien self released himself- it takes in two side-long tracks, and the best description of what we have here is minimal/ stark noise with elements of lo-fi ambience. So really somewhat of a departure from the more wall/ static noise sound Mr Skrobek is known for- through there are still some textured noise elements present here.
The plain black shelled cassette is offered up in a black & white slip sleeve- on its front we get a fairly crude pencil line drawing of a vase of dead flowers in a window sill. The inside features just plain black text on a white background- featuring minimal details of the tracklisting, weblinks, etc.
The first sides track is entitled “Where”- this finds almost seesaw shifting between sustained & bluntly harmonic ambient rises, sparse clattering/ galloping junk noise pattern, and sweeps of high pitched sourness. The second sides track “When” really seems to pare/strip back the first sides track with a more blurred & hovering focused of muffled non harmonic drone, and hazed cluttering ‘n’ dragging junk like textures.
Both sides of tape really find Skrobek in a much more moody, stripped-back, and almost starkly dreamy & muffled form- which I don’t think I’ve heard from him since his early more progressive wall-noise/ textured noise projects like Ghost, or his collaborative project The Sandman Wears A Mask. Though the feel of Sihir is a lot more barren, less conventional atmospheric, and harmonically lacking- neither tracks really comfort or sooth- instead you get a decidedly troubled vibe- think awake at the three in the morning with a cold sweat & the shakes.
I can’t say that The Other World grabbed me as much as some of Skrobek recent releases; but I certainly admire and whole heartily praise his need to keep move on and experimenting with-in the noise genre. I do like the idea of this projects sound, and it’s fairly original too- it just didn’t hit me as much as I’d hoped, but I’ll certainly be checking out more Sihir releases in the near future- and who knows The Other World may click with you more, as noise genre is very much down to personal taste. …and there’s no doubt about it the release still highlights both Skrobek’s noise skills & originality.Roger Batty