What is it about darkness that is so alluring? Is it the thrill of feeling hidden while in plain sight? Maybe it’s a fundamental response, something biological. In another review, I mentioned many animals come to life at night. Predators seek their prey. But the prey are not ignorant of this. They too are alert, stimulated. Every sense is strained to the limit. Even the imagination is in overdrive. Perhaps that excitement we feel in response to darkness is an evolutionary holdover.
Whatever the original concept of darkness, the present-day manifestations have developed and matured to the point of producing fruit. It comes in many varieties, but “dark” music is one of the most satisfying. Here’s some I found the other day at Export netlabel.
Before we bite into it, let’s take a moment to appreciate its “peel”. The title is excellent. It’s simple yet provocative, while not off-putting. The cover art is similarly attractive. Specifically, the sharp contrast of colors is gripping, while the bold red is captivating.
Now, it’s time to dig in. To start, the album is huge. I’m talking 20 tracks, including 4 bonus tracks. All of which are decently long, averaging about 3 minutes per track. That makes the total run time about an hour. The actual music is composed of elements both heavy and light, jagged and smooth, warm and cool. There’s superb bass throughout, tight samples, and mellow vibes connecting the individual pieces. For example, the bass in Two Dimensional is enthralling in its power and is a good example of what to expect from the album. Down Down Down contains an example of how well samples can be used. This track too has great bass which is accompanied by what sounds like a slow-motion poltergeist playing a normal-motion beat. As the bass drops lower and lower a voice joins in saying “Down, down, down. Marvelous.” Marvelous, indeed.
Picking a track to showcase is no easy task for this album because the quality throughout is quite high. Nevertheless, the following track struck my fancy: Frozen In The Ice Age.
It starts with muffled percussion, like a caveman who has been banging on a less-than-taut drum skin since the end of summer in a vain attempt to ward off the inclement winter. In spite of his efforts, clouds appear, the sun vanishes, the heat dissipates, and he finds himself shivering beside a faltering fire. As everything slows down, our caveman gathers his strength in his arms and bangs away at his drum. No longer is he fighting the stop the cold, he knows the battle is lost. Now, he bangs the drum to remember, to remember the scorching summer days, the tepid nights. And when his strength finally deserts him, he stares from his cave into the coming Ice Age. “A new day will come,” he thinks. “The sun will rise again.”
Dark Glow is not a bright, sunshine-y album. It’s hard and heavy and completely serious. And it’s awesome. Niteffect is doing it right.
Niteffect – Two Dimensional
Niteffect – Frozen In The Ice Age
Dark Glow release page
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