Dreissk: Edge_Horizon

The follow-up to The Finding, the 2011 debut album by Seattle-based electronic musician Kevin Patzelt aka dreissk, Edge_Horizon picks up where its predecessor left off. Cinematic in design, the fifty-seven-minute recording conjures the image of a dystopia filled with still-smoldering ruins, a futuristic society done in by violence and conflict; that Patzelt spent time as a sound designer in the gaming industry hardly surprises, given the visually evocative character of his music.

The album's mood is clearly set when “Wake” comes to life with a foreboding soundscape that gradually intensifies into a poisonous snarl, after which “The Rising Tide” establishes the album's heavy electronic character. Glassy tones appear alongside darker accents, the light-dark contrasts ultimately converging to form a beat-driven roar of blur and bluster. Tympanik Audio artist Anklebiter guests on “.Through” to add even more heaviness to dreissk's already ten-ton attack, though it's hardly the only piece of crushing weight: with detonations repeatedly accenting its corroded rhythms, “Arc” plays like a typical day in war-torn Syria, while “What Awaits” pushes the album's sound to a horror film soundtrack extreme. By comparison, “Waning Light” and “Set” offer relatively restrained exercises in ambient moodscaping.

Throughout the disc, chiming guitars, synths, pianos, and electronics stoke a collective blaze that sometimes evokes shoegaze in its reverberant, texturally rich presentation, and Patzelt smartly alternates between beat-driven and ambient scenes, a contrast that in turn strengthens the cinematic connection and enables the listener to recover from the intensity of the heavier tracks. It's tempting to describe Edge_Horizon as a quintessential n5MD recording, even if the label's wide-ranging discography argues against doing so. There's no denying, however, that the album's dystopic-electronic style is very much a natural fit for the label.

March 2013