Objekt4: Her Face Among the Shadows

Hydraulic creaks and myriad other disturbed noises creep to the surface from an underground dungeon in Objekt4's Her Face Among the Shadows. The eight-track collection by Sweden resident Anders Peterson, who “composed, decomposed, recomposed, coded, decoded, and encoded” the subtly menacing material, is largely dark ambient in character though occasionally animated by beats, typically hip-hop flavoured. His focus on spectral atmospheres is so consistent, the beats that abruptly appear in “Her Face” seem out of place. The lurching rhythms in “Foreverneverendeverend,” by comparison, more naturally emerge out of the setting's crime scene ambiance where swirls of buzzing flies suggest the aromatic presence of a decaying corpse. Even subtler, “Among the Shadows” undulates gently until clanking chains pierce the droning heartbeat that softly pounds throughout.

Much to his credit, Peterson eschews cheap theatrics—groans, screams, annihilating beats—others might have deployed for the genre in question; “A Way Away,” for example, ends the album on a peaceful (if gloomy) rather than harrowing note. Shaping his material in restrained manner ultimately enhances its impact by allowing the listener to visualize the album's desecrated landscapes (apparently, Objekt4's site also makes the release available in a 5.1 Surround Sound-CDR version, which, given the material's cinematic character, might be worth investigating). For those whose listening is as much label- as artist-oriented, Her Face Among the Shadows appears on the Czech label Ravenheart but would reside just as comfortably on Ad Noiseam or Sublight .

October 2006