The Word As Power
Blackest Ever Black
As Lustmord Brian Williams has created a strain of industrial and dark ambient music that creeps along like a horror soundtrack one minute, then slowly, surely, it opens itself up – unfolding – to reveal the beauty (and still the darkness) of sublime classical music, of minimalism, of – well, I’ll say it – “world music”.
Here with The Word As Power Lustmord focuses on vocals – the word being most powerful when in fact wordless. Here chants and throat singing infuse the quiet electronics and creeping synth templates that this master of mood so effortlessly conjures.
I’ve heard plenty of other material from Lustmord but this – his first foray into vocals, in this way – is the most powerful, the most moving. It’s a record that has me caught in its hypnotic, slow-moving sway.
This album is a huge commitment, a slow, deliberate sound-world built up over 75 minutes. It requires you listen to it, perhaps through headphones, certainly sitting down, doing little else. It’s a spiritual experience – a meditation. The closest touchstone I have to offer is if you imagine Dead Can Dance reworking Gorecki’s “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs”. Hackneyed though that may be, it certainly helped me to digest this experience, to process and contextualise what was going on.
This is beat-less but in the slow-moving intensity it’s deeply beautiful. Thanks to the vocals of Aina Skinnes Olsen in particular, giving a hint of Lisa Gerrard and the Trans Global Underground sound; other vocalists include Tool’s Maynard James Keenan and Jarboe formerly of Swans.
If you found the big-serve albums from Swans and Scott Walker last year, The Seer and Bisch-Bosch respectively, to be the sort of hard work that was so thoroughly rewarding to the point of seeming spiritually redemptive, rejuvenating then you’ve come to the right place.
Post-apocalyptic, post-rave comedown it may be, for some. But it’s the most amazing experience I’ve had inside headphones in months. It’s barely an album, more an aural sculpture, a scripture, a block of sound design – walk around town with it and be your own installation. A walking soundtrack.
The Word As Power is one of the best new musical experiences I’ve had this year.