Everyday Dust: Further Studies Beyond Decay
Sparkwood Records

Further Studies Beyond Decay is a remarkably cohesive collection considering that it pairs new material by Everyday Dust with eight remix treatments by a number of different producers of tracks from the 2016 release The Green Decay. The decision was made to combine the two groupings when it became apparent that both were developing at the same time, the result being a strikingly well-integrated synthesis of newly hatched and re-worked productions. Names such as John Lemke and Dead Melodies will be familiar to experimental ambient listeners, but every remixer, whether the name is recognizable or not, brings something fresh to the project.

The Green Decay drew for inspiration from the horrific tales of H.P. Lovecraft, and the four new soundscapes by Everyday Dust ooze as much gloom as those on the earlier set. Field recordings, synthesizers, tape effects, and nightmarish treatments abound in the settings, which together would have constituted a credible EP-length sequel to the 2016 album. Effectively conjuring the image of a depopulated, rain-soaked locale, the opener “Marshland” exudes no small amount of disturbance in soundtracking the seeming birth of some foul life-form and its slow advent across the soggy plains, and by its very title “Specimens 5 & 29” hints at dissection practices surreptitiously undertaken in a laboratory remote from prying eyes.

Multiple treatments of tracks from The Green Decay are presented, with two of “Roots,” two of “Moss,” and three of “Where Light Fails” included. An Imaginal Space's take on “Roots” seems to pick up precisely where “Marshland” leaves off by in this case zooming in to capture the rustling noises the entity makes as it moves through the landscape. The twelve-minute “Moss” treatment by SpectrumShift, on the other hand, inhabits a rather different sphere when a mellotron (or at least what sounds like one) is dusted off to spread flute-like tones across the dark, rumbling dronescape. Midwifed into being by Michael Iannone, one of Sparkwood's standout artists, MIIIIM's “Where Light Fails” version impresses as a predictably strong and polished production; memorable also are the plaintive, guitar-laced re-imagining by Dead Melodies and the strings-drenched version by Monotronaut.

A few contributors ground the originals with beat structures, the makeovers by Panama Fleets and modal_plane of “Lichen Chronicles” and “Moss” respective cases in point. Such additions bring some degree of normalizing stability to Everyday Dust's material, though never so much that the diseased character of the original is lost in the process. The punchiest of this set of makeovers would have to be Lemke's “Roots,” which recasts the cut as a bass-thrusting body mover one could conceivably hear dropped into the middle of an adventurous DJ's set. The remixers generally perpetuate the spirit of Everyday Dust's vision in their contributions, so much so that the boundaries separating the two groupings largely collapses. As a result, it's possible to listen to Further Studies Beyond Decay and imagine it as the work of a single producer rather than the product of nine.

Novrember 2017