Thomas Dimuzio / Voice of Eye: The Unveiling of Darkness
Record Label Records

The base material for The Unveiling of Darkness was recorded on September 17, 2009 in a San Francisco studio with overdubs credited to Voice of Eye (Jim Wilson and Bonnie McNairn) and “transformations” to Thomas Dimuzio. The respective parties first met at the IAMINDUST festival in San Francisco in 2008; reconvening a year later at the same festival, the three decided to add a studio session to their calendars. The result is a remarkable collection of haunting ambient-drone settings, with three of the five pushing past the sixteen-minute mark. The epic tone of the music is reinforced by the cosmological and mythological overtones of the track titles. “Themisto,” for example, refers not only to an irregular satellite of Jupiter but also to Themisto, the daughter of Hypseus in Greek mythology, and similar background associations arise in reference to “Lysithea” (also an irregular satellite of Jupiter and, in Greek mythology, a daughter of Oceanus and one of Zeus's lovers) and “Triton” (Neptune's largest moon and, in Greek mythology, the messenger of the sea).

No detailed instrumentation details are provided on the CD package itself, though the promo sheet does make note of Wilson's home-spun instruments, McNairn's pitch-perfect voice, and Dimuzio's processing treatments. Of one thing there is little doubt: the control and restraint they exercise in defining the instrument sounds and arranging the elements into long-form settings is impressive. For eighteen minutes, “Andrasthea” arcs gracefully across the sky in a series of overlapping vocal and guitar-like tones, the mood one of funereal sadness, even mourning. That “Io” references one of the four moons of Jupiter is entirely apropos, given the otherworldly character of the piece itself. In contrast to the opener, “Io” is more turbulent and possesses a nightmarish and vaguely industrial quality that the serene opener lacks. In the second of three extended pieces, long, descending trails suggest the slow-motion plummet of an aircraft, and the combustible elements drop from the skies like dive-bombers.

Though relatively brief, “Themisto” opens an immense black hole at the recording's center when blustery foghorns of swirls, gas, and primal beats assert their forceful presence. That sets the stage for the yawning abyss that is “Lysithea,” a barren and ice-cold set-piece whose ethereal rumble and deathly windstorms have got Glacial Movements written all over it. Some semblance of calm thankfully re-establishes itself during the closing “Triton,” allowing the listener to leave the recording with a sense that sanity's been reclaimed. Aside from the obvious high level of craft involved, The Unveiling of Darkness is also distinguished by clear contrasts in mood and style between its five settings, something that comes into clear focus upon close listening. The hour-long recording is by turns becalmed and bewitched, and offers a sometimes harrowing glimpse into inner states associated with depression and madness.

April 2013