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Black Burst Sound Generator - Black Burst Sound Generator [Moozak - 2020]

German female experimental duo Black Burst Sound Generator create a novel combination of rhythmic analog electronics and processed clarinet playing. This self titled album comes in the form of either screen printed vinly pressing(ltd to 100 copies), or a digital download.

Tracks like "Spook" center around hypnotic midtempo urban drum machine patterns reminiscent of UK club music of a lower energy level, like early minimal dubstep and garage (808s), with a hint of electro and trap.  With a rather clever touch, the gritty sampled and live bass clarinet from Susanna Gartmayer fills in the space that would typically be occupied by a grimy synthetic bassline.  At times, the clarinet playing is chopped into sequenced patterns.

Other pieces on the album have nothing to do with club music, taking a sparser, freeform approach.  On such pieces as "Keys", there's something of a call and response between clarinet and various electronic tones (sounding like those of a modular synth) and percussion gestures, some treated with oceanic verbs.  Warm sub bass tones undulate into gulfs of silence.

The dark dub beats return with the stygian ambience of "Dauerwelle", with its almost Lustmord-esque grim tone.  Here the clarinet alternates ominously between two pitches, letting each growl and warp, the harmonics shifting like a didgeridoo.  It's not unlike what I've heard from groups like Halo Manash, Arktau Eos and the larger ritual ambient scene, who like to use acoustic timbres to create a kind of Lovecraftian gothic ambience.

There is a pleasing variety to the electronic textures found here, and it's often unclear exactly what the sound source is.  Vintage drum machines are only a small fraction of what is heard.  There's a lot of buzzing, grinding, chittering distortions and what would be often called 'glitch' in digital music today, only generated by clearly analog means, based on the way the tone sounds.  The sounds are often 'granular' in that it seems tiny fragments are being repeated to create these 'grinding' percussive tones.

It's unusual to hear this level of creativity in sound design within the world of dark downtempo.  This creativity with sound design I associate more with electroacoustic music and avant garde; this album serves as a bridge between these worlds.  As such, I would gladly listen to full albums of Brigitta Bödenauer's electronics on their own.  All of the clarinet elements are expressive and well utilized, but ultimately I feel they've been simply digested into the composition by Bodenauer, who could likely work any sound cleverly into her bizarre surreal sequence.  It's a short album at twenty minutes, but a great vibe and quite replayable, filled with effort and content. Highly recommended.

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

Josh Landry
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