What does space sound like? A lot like a Lustmord album. On its new album Dark Matter, made in part from the sampled sounds of space, it’s hard to tell what’s what.

If you know anything about outer space, it’s easy to tell which sounds couldn’t possibly come from there: the wet, fuzzy sea of static that threatens to subdue “Astronomicon,” for instance, or the dubby pings near the beginning of the same song. The drones on “Black Static” fade about halfway through into what sounds like a singing bowl, that staple of dark ambient. The opening high notes of “Subspace” form too neat a melody to have arisen naturally.

Lustmord and whatever being or force of nature created the cosmos like a lot of the same sounds: deep bass rumbles, subsonic drones. What might sound like outer space to anyone who’s tuned into NASA’s library of cosmic field recordings – or heard any other recording made with space sounds, like Biosphere’s Autourd de la Lune or Terry Riley’s Sun Rings – might as easily be generated by Lustmord’s electronics.

Welsh industrial musician Brian Williams has recorded under the Lustmord name since 1980, and has released dozens of albums since then. He has made recordings from sources that are disparate and unusual, from slaughterhouses to Tibetan horns. Most of the sounds here could be found on any one of his previous albums. If the new album doesn’t offer many surprises, fans should like it just fine. It delivers more of what Williams has always dished out: deep, bassy, dark, amelodic ambient music. Some may be disappointed Lustmord didn’t do a bit more with the space sounds; this doesn’t make quite as flamboyant a show of its source material as The Word As Power, the band’s last studio album, did with its high-profile guest vocalists. Furthermore, Dark Matter is slight at only three tracks, though each carries its weight.

Non-Lustmord fans should be warned: this stuff requires patience. Each track clocks in at between 20 and 30 minutes, long even by ambient standards. Listeners used to music this formidable will delight in getting lost in its cavernous drones and every minuscule change in texture (really the album is all texture) will take on the significance of a major event. Those who like their ambient shorter, cleaner and prettier might be left wondering why the record’s been going for half an hour and nothing has happened yet. (Try falling asleep to it.)

Dark Matter expertly evokes the vastness of outer space. Though this is dark ambient, there’s little foreboding or dread. Instead, Lustmord creates an eerie, sterile calm, occasionally interrupted by swells of bass that seem impossibly huge but distant – miles, perhaps even light-years, off. Not much happens in space, but it’s still a dangerous, mysterious, frightening place. The same could be said of Dark Matter, an album content to do little more than create a void for the listener to get sucked into.

  • Lustmord: The Word as Power

    [xrr rating=4.0/5]Stalker, Lustmord’s 1995 tribute to Andrei Tarkovsky’s movie of th…
  • Fuzz: III

    An album strictly focused on continuing the Fuzz legacy, and for some, that’s all it needs…
  • PUP: This Place Sucks Ass EP

    The EP refuses to read as a naive “we’re gonna get through this just fine” narrative, but …
  • Surfer Blood: Carefree Theatre

    Carefree Theatre feels almost like catching up with old friends. …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check Also

Laraaji: Moon Piano

Jubilation gives way to something more restrained but equally positive, something more lik…