Empty Nature

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Solarus is a chance for Namanax's Kipp Johnson and Bill Yurkiewicz to leave behind, for a moment, their wall-of-noise power electronics and step into what sounds like a Scorn cover band. Empty Nature is steeped in the detuned, bass heavy, slow dub of Mick Harris' project, and does not distinguish itself from its contemporaries in any fashion. The entire album is glacially paced, with echo-treated bass and what sounds like Kraftwerk's drum machine set to "boring." The appearance of mixer and producer James Plotkin livens things up, and a spoken word sample appears to give each track some means of distinguishing each from another. The credits to the album indicate that Yurkiewicz is responsible for vocals, but where those are on the album is open to question. "Whipspawn 2" is one of the more enjoyable tracks, but ruined by the sample "we will live in labor camps, we shall toil, and sweat, and die," which is repeated six times, as if the intent is to stop you from chilling out to the record, and to bum you out. The closing track, "Sunyata," however, is a real treat. Clocking in at over ten minutes, and without a buzz-killing sample in it, Johnson's bass finds a groove and Plotkin picks out a gentle melodic progression that recalls some of the Edge's early atmospheric work with U2. It seems that around the time of this release, electronic dub was around every corner, but so few of the artists made any impact (the aforementioned Scorn, Twilight Circus Dub Sound System), and most of the genre's albums are now relegated to the used bin at specialty record stores. This is one of those. For those who can't get enough minimal electronic dub (and own the Scorn discography), this is one worth picking up, otherwise you can safely pass.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick