Skinwell: Tunnels

On Skinwell's Tunnels, Christian Corvellec and Martin Dumais serve up an hour-long exercise in industrial ambient-noise dronescaping, with the emphasis more on the ambient than noise side of the equation. “Orcvent” proves that the two are eminently capable of working up an apocalyptic roar when the mood strikes, but the track eschews the harrowing screech of a prototypical Merzbow assault for something less obliterating. Likewise, the cyclonic “Theodolite” churns relentlessly for nine minutes without ever reaching a pain-inducing pitch. Dumais (multi-slab processing, analog melodic extractions) and Corvellec (initial templates and layers, digital processing) ensnare the listener with cycling patterns and machine-like pulsations, much of it smothered in foggy textures and gnarly noise. A steady pitch of controlled squalls and unearthly industrial rumble opens “Floor” but gradually a bruising, indomitable throb moves to the forefront to eventually overpower the other sounds. In “Dissiminate,” a careening ghost-like specter hums at the center of cyclonic thrums and ear-piercing pitches, while the comparatively gentler “Fissionned” stretches its piano-like streams through softly crackling whooshes of static and hum as synthetic swoops ring out in the distance. Skinwell saves its deepest plunge, “Grim Coast,” for last, at which point the duo works up a steam-shop factory sweat for a good seventeen minutes. Though Tunnels is the first musical outing on disc for Christian Corvellec, that's hardly the case for Dumais who has been involved in Montreal's electronic and experimental music scenes for the past two decades (his current psych-drone project, AUN, has released three CDs on the Montreal-based Oral imprint and one on Crucial Blast in the US).

June 2009