James Plotkin

A Peripheral Blur

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A Peripheral Blur is the aural equivalent of an Atom Egoyen film, calm and lulling even while chaos and pure fear lap at the edges. More a series of sound collages than a collection of songs, Plotkin and Spybey have created a darkly ambient record in which guitar swells entrance the listener as primal, chthonic bursts of sound trigger aeons-deep dreams of terror and helplessness. It's as if you were sitting alone in the dark, and you < I >knew< /I > that something was slowly emerging from the velvet night around you, but you were somehow powerless to avoid its pull. This music is almost vampiric in that respect, simultaneously seducing you and feeding on you, kissing you even as it kills you. Plotkin has roots in death metal, so he is no stranger to dark, abrasive textures. In fact, some of the submerged groans heard on A Peripheral Blur, whether they be produced by tweaked reverbs or by some other mechanical source, are of the same spirit, come from the same musical place, if you will, as the characteristic death metal growl; the intensity and power, instead of being up front and in your face, are subdued, transplanted into the background. Like the Spirit of God blowing over the face of the waters, Plotkin has ordered the chaos, but he hasn't destroyed it. Like fellow avant-metal auteur Justin Broadrick, Plotkin recognizes the beauty in violence (and vice versa). Profoundly effective dark ambient.

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