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Panoptique Electrical - Picturesque Ruins [Midira Records - 2022]

Australian native Jason Sweeney is the driving force behind Panoptique Electrical, and his latest release, Picturesque Ruins, is nothing if not a study in well-tempered dissolution and destruction – of harmony, of classical instrumentation, and of the time that moves nonlinearly as we listen.

This work moves not from hope to delusion; rather, it begins with “Delusion” (the first of its five parts) into something disjointed, horns and wind instruments bleeding into one another, sullying the sonic field. In toto, the slowly-moving force of Sweeney’s vibrating tones is like a plane headed on a slow descent, but instead of a stable ground, the landing strip is as fluid and fraught as the air that surrounds it.

The track “Dissolve” is a shaky fulcrum at the structural and temporal midpoint of Picturesque Ruins, a center that will not hold, but not for lack of trying. By the time we arrive at “Dirtdrone,” it is clear that the darker forces are holding sway, haunting and stripped down to pure immanence, the most minimal and yet most terrifying moments of the composition. In the final passages of “Stay,” we are punished with clamour and cacophony, a church organ turned squarely on its steeple. This ruin is the holding of an angry deity, full of scorched earth and shadowy forests, a requiem for this world. Such are the trappings of an album composed on the ruin of colonial ownership, light-filled but with a very dark horizon. For more info head here

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

Colin Lang
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