Split between Arkhtinn and US entity Starless Domain. Vinyl exclusive release.
Galaxy black/white mix.
“Arkhtinn’s song, “Astrofobi“, left me completely fascinated, and my rapidly withering muscles got a good pump too. The latter effect derives from the song’s hard-pumping rhythms. The fascination comes in part from the combining of those riveting, thumping drives with a spectrum of eerie, threatening ambient waves, maniacally flickering keyboards, and echoing ghoul voices. But that’s just the beginning.
As the song unfolds, it continually changes. Shining and searing panoramic sounds cascade above hyper-blasting drums, fevered fretwork, and blood-freezing roars. The sound is glorious, but terrorizing; it feels like we have a ring-side seat to a supernova, with all the adrenaline rush that would come from such a jaw-dropping and fear-fueling experience. But the song also pitches us into a haunting astral drift, in which we become exposed to the monstrous assembly of vocal horrors that dwell in that void, and also gives us a welcome reprise of those compulsively body-moving beats and fantastical keyboards (but no relief from the nightmare voices).
“MUSE” is the name of Starless Domain‘s track on the split. The title refers to The Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer, which the band explain “is a second generation instrument in development for the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO)”. “It is,” they say, “a panoramic integral-field spectrograph operating in the visible wavelength range”.
As you listen, your mind will see things, but it seems unlikely that all the mental images will be of phenomena in the visible spectrum. The crazed shrieking that radiates from within the enveloping sounds seem to have inhuman origins. The rich array of flickering and shimmering tonalities that saturate much of the song (coupled with percussive blasting and hammering) channel a transfixing splendor whose otherworldly quality seems mystical, as well as connected to visions of rocketing passages through the void-lanes among nebulae.
The vigorous propulsion of the song, which includes fleet-fingered bass as well as the maniacally driving drum pistons, is of a piece with the glistening blaze of everything around it — it’s all breathtaking. There are moments when the rhythm section vanishes, and then you can hear more clearly what sounds like deep, wordless choral voices lending their reverence to the glories of those glittering chords, and other moments nearer the end when the music becomes less splendorous and more ravaging, more ominous, more despairing — but no less sweeping or vast.” – No Clean Singing