Occulting Disk

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Occulting Disk is Helge Sten's first full album as Deathprod since his 2004 dark ambient masterpiece Morals and Dogma. Described by its creator as "an anti-fascist ritual," Occulting Disk protests hatred through sheer, uncompromising sound. Will Oldham's liner notes state that the way to deal with fear and hatred is to reduce them by their opposites, and sometimes it's necessary to fly in the face of logic in order to do what's right. He also notes that being "impaled by sound and vibration" might occur, and that this will push one to confront the negative, oppressive forces. Unlike previous Deathprod albums, this one seems to be constructed entirely from sounds generated by Sten's trademark "audio virus," without the creaking, tortured strings or ghostly choral arrangements he's previously incorporated. Opening piece "Disappearance / Reappearance" recalls the second part of 1994's Treetop Drive, with stark blasts of electronic noise repeatedly shooting out and dissipating into empty space, providing a consistent series of electrifying jolts that are as brutal as they are mesmerizing. Most of the remaining pieces are a series of numerically titled "Occultations," and while they usually aren't nearly as harsh, they're just as striking. These tracks generally consist of swarming, scanning feedback drones, ranging from gliding theremin tones to shrill, metallic vibrations. "Occultation 1" is strangely comforting, seeming to cradle the listener in vast, rich waves of glowing energy. No such warmth is present in the sparse, bleak "Occultation 3," however, and the following tracks proceed to stare doom directly in the face. "Black Transit of Jupiter's Third Satellite," the album's longest and most alarming track, is an all-encompassing mass of hazy, swaying static from which there seems to be no escape. Yet somehow Sten makes being trapped in an electrical storm sound empowering rather than hope-defeating. It also makes the dizzy, swirling synth-scape of the concluding "Occultation 8" sound all the more uneasy.

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