Morals and Dogma

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Morals and Dogma is Deathprod's first solo effort in eight years -- his activities as a sound engineer and his participation in the improv quartet Supersilent have kept him very busy in the meantime. But despite a lot of water having run under the bridge, the album doesn't present a rupture or even a significant change in direction from its predecessors (especially Treetop Drive). There's a simple explanation to this: the album's magnum opus, "Dead People's Things," was recorded sometime in 1994, at the time Treetop Drive was going through its final stages of production. "Orgone Donor" is from 1996; the two remaining tracks were recorded in the fall of 2000 for a dance performance by the Kreutzer Kompani. Then again, Deathprod's music creates its own space out of time, so the chronological aspect (or the "newness" of the music presented here) has little relevance. What does matter, though, is the quality, and on that count Morals and Dogma features some of Deathprod's finest, most moving music. Presented as the stark accompanying soundtrack to the rituals of a secret society (hence the black-on-black design), the album consists of four engulfing drones. Hans Magnus Ryan and Ole Henrik Moe, faithful collaborators since Helge Sten's earliest experiments, provide once again the musical body in which Sten works what he calls his "audio virus." "Tron" and "Cloudchamber," the two dance pieces, offer the darkest landscapes. The latter's infrabass frequencies and soft bow scratches create a gripping post-apocalyptic atmosphere. But the 20-minute "Dead People's Things" steals the show. The piece is dominated by Ryan's whiny violin and Sten's test oscillator, which he plays like a theremin, sketching the saddest melody. Highly recommended to fans of atmospheric experimental music.

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