The Hinterlands Volume 2 by David Lees

Welcome to column number two! This time out we have  some techno, a fair bit of ambient and a seasoning of hardcore electronica, so hopefully something to please everyone.

First up we have Offending Public Morality by DJ and producer Dax J, a release on his own label Monnom Black. This album has a little more depth than a lot of techno releases, lacing each track with simmeringly aggressive drum’n’bass and mixing vocal samples from old British movies to explore themes of racism and police brutality, a dystopian vision that feels all too relevant right now. Though guest vocals by Zanias on Waves of Isolation add some melancholy to the mix, overall this is the soundtrack to a dark urban fable with no happy ending in sight.

Just out from [aufnahme + wiedergabe] is Psychoterrorpriest by Acid Vatican which consists of two tracks, Repent Motherfucker and Preacherman. There’s a touch of the 80’s synthwave sound going on but it’s far more rooted in the world of Italian horror movies than that of mirrorshades and neon. It also includes a particularly meaty remix of Repent Motherfucker by Sarin which throws in some murdery vocal samples to add another layer of menace. One to listen to while driving through a rain-slicked city at night looking for murderers in leather hoods lurking down alleyways. As we all do from time to time.

Odd Scene/Shit Luck is a bit of a surprise single release from Blanck Mass, not related to or taken from any recent album and considerably more hardcore (as in the genre) than their usual output of experimental electronica and post-rock influences. Driving guitars, distortion  and growled vocals are the order of the day here. Is this a cathartic release or a change of pace after the experimentation of World Eater and its Re-Voxed remix album? Either way it grabs you by the head and shakes for a solid 8 minutes.

Slowing things down a bit we have some Dark Ambient from Shamsiel with Mighty Sun of God. Unsurprisingly for a project named after an angel there’s a heavily religious overtone to this, with the sounds of echoing, distant ritual worship and Latin (I assume) chanting creating a sense of vast, sepulchral spaces, like a journey through an abyssal cathedral or great slow slabs of sound drifting across a dark arctic ocean.

Heart Murmur is the new album by Darkrad, the dark-industrial music project of multidisciplinary artist Jana Komaritsa. A collection of subdued electronic soundscapes made to evoke themes of “inner blackness and disturbances of mind”, to me the album sounds like the ambient soundtrack of a psychological horror movie steeped in darkness punctuated by brief patches of neon light, dragging you further and further down into anxiety inducing weirdness as it progresses.