Zilverhill: +Eötvös+

+Eötvös+, the premiere release from Western Australia label Adeptsound, is by Zilverhill, a two-man outfit comprised of long-time collaborators Schuster (Tim Bayes) and Present Day Buna (Paul G Carr, who heads up the Sheffield imprint Blind Shouter) both of whom have been kicking around since the early ‘80s in various configurations. Grinding machine rhythms and equally dazed mantras bludgeon the listener so mercilessly throughout the seventy-minute collection, one begins to feel stupefied by its disturbed ambient drone settings. Offsetting the instrumental dimension, voices often appear but typically so distortedly one strains to decipher the content of their muffled communications.

In the unsettled twelve-minute opener “Veris,” voices punctuate a low-flying industrial drone to modestly interesting effect. Considerably more engaging is the dizzying “Aiken,” which incessantly loops and layers multiple voice fragments (“Hello?”...“Ma'am”) while a relentless slab of static churns underneath, and “Proven,” which is underpinned by the incessant clang of (what sounds like) a prison door. Gloom sets in during the beatless soundscape “Ominous” but it's refreshing to be offered respite, however brief, from the hammering rhythms that have come before. The track's still no walk in the park, however, since the listener can't help but overhear an unidentified female recount various personal horrors (“He gave it to me just before he committed suicide… The first time he beat me up so badly, I couldn't stop crying for eight days…”) and, if anguished voices are any indication, a violent act of some sort also seems to be occurring in “Hiding.” Ghoulish voices moan like exhumed corpses in the eerie closer “Saarinen” which mirrors the opener in length. Like a deathly incantation designed to re-animate zombies, the piece lumbers for twelve agonizing minutes before returning to its grave. Bayes and Carr clearly designed +Eötvös+ with a specialized listening audience in mind.

October 2008