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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

Moan - Isolate | Desolate | Mutate [Zoharum - 2020]

Moan is a Polish projects that brings together brooding & creepy dark ambience, and moody-at times jarring sonic flotsam & jetson- taking in both subtle electronica & industrial touches. Here’s a double CD reissue of the project's work- disc one collates together two releases, and disc two is a selection of remixes of the tracks of the first disc.

The Moan project is all the work of one Rafal S¹dej- and it has been active since 1996. It’s released coming on for twenty items thus far in it's discography - moving between tapes, CDR’s, and downloads- and as far as I can gather this double CD set is the first CD release from Moan. The two CD’s each come in their own inner card slip sleeves, and these are present in a six-panel mini gatefold, that takes in mood fitting pictures abandoned hallways & hunched figures in wheelchairs- all in all, a nice bit of  presentation.

The first CD takes in two releases 2000’s Isolate, which was self-released by S¹dej himself & 2001’s Desolate which appeared on Soulworm Editions. I‘d describe what we have here is a blend of Silent Hill video game scoring & more minimal, but jarring & unsettling dark ambient soundscaping- like say UK’s Band Of Pain.

Isolate takes in seven tracks in all- and these run between one and nine minutes apiece. We go from the opening track “When Dream Doesn’t Come…” this begins with slow ‘n’ sinister synth loop rather lulling one into a grim stupor- but just as your about to fully drop-in, S¹dej fires out a loud & highly jarring chain snap ‘n’ spill tone- as we progress he subtly & skillful adds in more layers of the atmosphere from strange alien likes wows, to ringing & throbbing drone undercurrents. By track three "Void" we find ourselves in slowly descending sonic haze of wavering tone drags 'n' slurred clanging bleak-ness. The final track on this first release is “(…)” here have the lumbering drone, distant clicks, and creepy wind whistle through abandoned corridor tones.

Moving onto the second smaller release on this first disc, and Desolate features three tracks that run between four & six minutes. We start with tolling & hazed drone-meets-ill defined shovel, drag & knock of “q8v”.  And finishes with the urgent-yet- hazed throbbing elector purr, distant chattering radio voices, and stabbing fork of “Absorption”.


The second disc is entitled Mutate- and here we find eleven remixed tracks- with runtimes between two and fourteen minutes, and a total disc runtime of seventy-five minutes. Those doing  the tracks sever-up fairly drastically remixers- either we get more layers of subtle ambient & industrial sound added into the pot, or the traditional remix route of adding in beats. All of which makes for an enjoyable enough seventy-five minute runtime- though I don’t’ think any of the remixers are as good or as effective as the original tracks.

It’s great to see Zoharum reissue work from Moan- as they have a distinctive enough sound to stand out from the dark ambient crowd. Lets hope there are some reissues planned as it great to hear more from the project.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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