Black Faction

Internal Dissident, Pt. 1

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Conceived as both a personal retrospective through favored sounds and departed influences as well as being its own striking aural trip, Internal Dissident, Pt. 1 is a great calling card for those unfamiliar with Black Faction or Diey's work in general. The album as a whole begins with a near inaudible series of bass hums, but "Introduction" suddenly brings in everything from rough, liquid electronic squelches to massive, echoed percussion hits and soft string synths, and from there, Internal Dissident takes off and doesn't come back. Diey's ear for textures and beats firmly aligns him in the camp of post-Muslimgauze musical exploration, and it's little surprise that "Afghan Front V1.1" is, in fact, a tribute to Bryn Jones, mixing low synth tones, a steady hip-hop beat, and moaning dudeks, among many other things. The immediately preceding "Sepia Indate" clearly bears the signs of Jones' own fascinating collage of traditional and electronic sounds as well, chimes and wind instrument samples mixing with sudden interjections and cut-ups. Another knowing but appropriate reference is to Dante and The Divine Comedy, thanks to "Virgil's Bridge," easily one of the creepiest, oddest numbers on the album, disembodied laughter and distorted metallic scrapes and howls swirling around the unsettled rhythms. The one fully understandable speech admittedly verges on Hammer horror territory, but in context it's appropriately laden with damnation. Various other homages to Diey's background crop up besides the Muslimgauze nod -- "Manchestique Concrete" makes audible reference to everything from glitch techno to straight-up dance, a portrait of a city and scene in the mind rather than necessarily in physical locations. The creative use of other distorted vocal snippets throughout the record emphasizes the strange, post-psychedelic impact of the music as well, while the cinematic conclusion of "Widow Maker," strings and everything, is a lovely way to wrap up the album entirely.