TO:102 – Lustmord “Dark Matter”

Compact disc in digifile – 3 tracks – 70:38
Artwork & photography by Jon Wozencroft
Release date: 30th September 2016

Conceived and Produced by B.Lustmord
Recorded in Los Angeles October-December 2015
Artwork & Photography by Jon Wozencroft

Track listing:

1. Subspace
2. Astronomicom
3. Black Static

Derived from an audio library of cosmological activity collected between 1993 and 2003. It was gathered from various sources including NASA (Cape Canaveral, Ames, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Arecibo), The Very Large Array, The National Radio Astronomy Observatory and various educational institutions and private contributors throughout the USA

Lustmord writes: “The Universe we inhabit is a vast expanse far larger than we are able to comprehend. As we attempt to understand its underlying structure and as we gain new insight into the nature of matter, new questions arise and further gaps in our understanding are revealed.

Behind the world that we experience lies a veil of darkness and much is hidden between, beyond and unseen.

We are limited by our inability to truly grasp the infinite breadth of the Universe, the time scales involved in its measure and our insignificant position within.

Some things will always be unknowable, and existence does not begin or end with man’s conception.

Everything that has ever been observed by man, even with our most sophisticated instruments, amounts to less than five percent of the Universe.

Approximately sixty-eight percent of the Universe is unseen dark energy and approximately twenty-seven percent is unseen dark matter. We have yet to discover what dark matter is, and only know the things it is not. Although it has not been directly observed, its existence and properties are inferred from its effects on visible matter, its influence on the Universe’s large-scale structure, and its effects in the cosmic microwave background.

The universe began of darkness, not of light.

While space is a virtual vacuum, it does not mean there is no sound in space. It exists in space as naturally occurring electromagnetic vibrations, many well within the range of human hearing while others exist at different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum and these can be adjusted with software to bring them within our audio range.

The recordings of these interactions in space come from several different environments including radio, ultra violet, microwave and X-ray data and within these spectra a wide range of sources including interstellar plasma and molecules, radio galaxies, pulsars masers and quasars, charged particle interactions and emissions, radiation, exotic astrophysical objects, cosmic jets and flares from magnetars.”

About Lustmord:

Widely credited as the originator of the “Dark Ambient” genre. Credits on over forty motion pictures including The Crow and Underworld. One of the two composers for the Turtle Rock/2K game Evolve. Worked with John Balance, Chris & Cosey, Clock DVA, Current 93, Paul Haslinger, Maynard James Keenan, Melvins, Nurse With Wound, Tool and Wes Borland amongst others.


Norman Records (UK):


This stalwart of the Dark Ambient scene with, an immersive back catalogue of work stretching over 3 decades, returns with a new release on the highly respected ‘Touch’ label; and what a cracker it is. Ten years worth of compiled sound sources were used in the production of this latest output; as cosmological audio spread over three distinctive slabs of pitch black, cavernous dark matter. With a vast amount of his past releases re-issued on Germany’s Ant Zen label in recent times; this, along with those quality uncompromising pieces of work, cement a legacy of master-ship within this chosen genre.

The Quietus (UK):

Heard on lightweight headphones Dark Matter could be musicians working with recordings of the wind. They admirably foreground the dance of air – wisps slowly whipping up a foreboding gale – their instruments remain restrained, providing background colour but never taking the lead, as their gentle tones get swept then smothered by the elements. On this level, it reminded me of the soundtrack to The Revenant, but not so much the superb music composed for the film by Ryuichi Sakamoto and alva.noto, but the rich environmental sound design of the wind in the trees that played equal part in imparting the strong sense of a bleak but magical wilderness.

But upscale the playback to an amp and decent speakers and, while the bleak, magical wilderness still rings true, it is no longer of this earth. Dark Matter, the latest in a long line of epic scale soundworks from Brian Williams AKA Lustmord, uses ‘electromagnetic vibrations’ captured from various cosmological phenomena such as interstellar plasma, pulsars and flares. These recordings, sometimes not within our perceptible audio range, were then sculpted by Lustmord’s highly experienced hands to arrive at a suite of three twenty-minute parts. Given the right playback equipment they impart a terrifying sense of scale that belittle the listener regardless of having prior knowledge of the sound sources.

But as well as this novel, if terrifying, feeling of insignificance and awe, Dark Matter has a strong and moody musical undertow throughout. Ghostly choral residues and long, sluggish streaks of low end, like the exhaust trails of the deep space freighters of the Terran Trade Authority, emerge from the nebulous drift. This positions it far from a documentary on the sounds of space and instead artfully arrives at a sonic ritual or devotional hymn to the universe. [Russell Cuzner]

Bleep (UK):

Dark ambient visionary Lustmord teams up with prolific UK experimental label Touch to present Dark Matter. Following 2013’s The Word as Power on Blackest Ever Black, the studio album was 15 years in the making and thus feels thoroughly well-conceived. It comprises of material the Welsh producer, real name Brian Williams, gathered from 1993 till 2003: NASA and various astronomy observatories across the US are amongst the sources of his audio library.

Centred around the idea that the universe mainly consists of dark energy, Dark Matter sounds the unknown beyond our imagination. Taking naturally occurring electromagnetic vibrations as a starting point, Williams used software to bring them into our range of audibility – the result is an unsettling galaxy of sonic interferences: crumbling avalanches of cosmic jets, interstellar plasma and molecules, crushing drones of radiation and flares from magnetars.

Black Audio (UK):

Lustmord can comfortably sit with the legendary status he has attained within Dark Ambient circles; with a catalogue that stretches back as far as the early 80’s. Recently he has had a number of albums re-issued by German label Ant-Zen, so it is a surprise to see his latest output on the well-respected Touch label.

Built upon ten years worth of cosmological sounds compiled in an audio library; there is no doubt as to the concept surrounding this latest piece of work, spread over three long tracks and housed in a nice oversized ekopack wallet.

The songs themselves are suitably bleak. Rich, throbbing low-end bass pads out cavernous dense air as ghostly apparitions of high-end musicality reach out into the vast unknown corners of space. Lustmord tries his hand at grasping an unseen and unkown quantity, that of dark matter and its influence on the universe.

Overall, this is a quality piece of work end to end. Densely layered and mysterious with many a nook and cranny to become enveloped within and providing everything a Dark Ambient release should. There is really nothing to compare Lustmord to as he has created his own mythos and received well-deserved acclaim; this latest opus just adds to that. 9.5/10

Core (Italy):

“The Universe we inhabit is a vast expanse far larger that we are able to comprehend. As we attempt to understand its underlying structure and as we gain new insight into the nature of matter, new questions arise and further gasps in our understanding are revealed.” Con questa frase il musicista gallese apre un disco che rappresenta un sunto di attività cosmologica che inizia nel 1993 e perdura per circa un decennio. Materiale conversato, riletto ed interpretato, di cui l’artista aveva anticipato l’esistenza in alcune interviste. Accompagnato dal mirabile artwork di Jon Wozencroft e registrato a Los Angeles, dove ormai risiede da tempo, tra ottobre e dicembre dell’anno passato, ‘Dark Matter’ è un dolce vagare nello spazio. E quando uso il termine dolce non lo faccio perché le ambientazioni che mi ritrovo a descrivere sono colorate, divertenti o piacevoli da visitare. Al contrario uso questo aggettivo perché quello che ci aspetta è decisamente peggiore. Un incubo, la fine del mondo, l’apocalisse terrena o semplicemente un viaggio in chissà quale dimensione. Per anni Lustmord è stato considerato un eretico e un solitario ma dopo l’avvincente ‘Stockholm’ è venuto il momento di esplorare di nuovo la galassia e farci tornare con i piedi per terra appena sopraggiunto il silenzio. Dei tre movimenti proposti il primo, ‘Subspace’, è senza dubbio il più spettrale e coinvolgente ma l’intera opera, pur non essendo di semplice assimilazione, è di gran lunga superiore a quanto di sperimentale e avanguardistico esce in ambito drone, ambient e vagamente elettronico ai giorni nostri. [Lorenzo Becciani]

The New Noise (Italy):

Brian ‘Lustmord’ Williams è un artista molto più eclettico di quello che si crede. È normalmente considerato il papà del dark ambient (Heresy, 1990), ma nei dischi usciti negli ultimi dieci anni, che possono piacere come non piacere, ha collaborato con i Melvins, con Maynard James Keenan e Adam Jones (Tool), poi con Aaron Turner (Isis), Jarboe… e ha remixato in chiave dub dei pezzi dei Puscifer, per restare nell’ambito della famiglia Tool.

Oggi torna su Touch, da solo e in qualche modo più vicino al sound grazie al quale s’è affermato. Non penso che lo faccia per battere cassa andando sul sicuro (come capita a certe band che giocano la carta del cambiamento, non fanno soldi e si ri-presentano dai vecchi fan con qualcosa che li accontenti), perché Dark Matter è un’idea di cui ha parlato per un sacco di tempo nelle interviste e alla quale solo ora è riuscito a dare seguito concreto, dopo anni in cui ha raccolto il materiale scarso di cui si compone il disco. Williams, infatti, si è creato un archivio di “suoni” spaziali fornitigli dalla NASA e da vari osservatori: vibrazioni elettromagnetiche che viaggiano nel vuoto, alcune al di fuori della capacità percettiva del nostro orecchio, ma portate nel nostro campo uditivo da dei software (un procedimento simile a quello di Pietro Riparbelli con le onde corte, per restare nel genere). Così facendo, Lustmord, ripulendo molto la materia grezza e rumorosa di partenza e adattandola alla sua estetica, ci ha restituito l’attività di stelle, pianeti e galassie. A differenza che in certi suoi primi dischi, che ci davano una sensazione di pericolo, qui sembra di ascoltare il respiro di creature eterne e indifferenti alla nostra esistenza, adagiate da qualche parte in un’immensità a tratti affascinante, a tratti in grado di gettare nello sconforto più assoluto. Un Lustmord puro ed essenziale, dunque, che non rinuncia però a bassi spaccapavimenti e a qualche suono alieno che ghiaccia il sangue nelle vene. “Nello Spazio nessuno può sentirti urlare”, dice la tagline di un vecchio capolavoro, ma – aggiungo io – se noi potessimo sentire nello Spazio forse ne moriremmo. [Fabrizio Garau]


Tartine de Contrabasse (France):

Tout amateur de dark ambient a forcément croisé ce nom sur sa route : Lustmord, ou le gars à qui on attribue peut-être à tort la création du genre, mais dont on ne pourra jamais nier le rôle crucial dans sa démocratisation entre la fin des années 80 et le début de 90 ; Heresy se place ici en pierre angulaire du personnage et de ce style de musique en 1990, avec ses captations cryptiques et volcaniques à glacer le sang. Comme je n’aime pas faire comme tout le monde, je lui préférerai The Place Where the Black Stars Hang, dont le déroulement en territoires spatiaux photorépulsifs fait naître des sentiments d’isolation et d’impuissance face aux éléments que seul un Thomas Köner peut prétendre atteindre. Transition parfaite pour nous mener à la dernière production aux inspirations cosmiques de Brian Williams qui paraît sur le totémique Touch, excellent toit pour musiques minimalistes tangentes s’il en est. Après une décade de collecte d’échantillons sonores dans les plus grands centres d’études spatiales et chez les plus petits contributeurs privés puis 15 autres hivers de gestation, Dark Matter voit le jour. Façon de parler.

Là où The Place Where the Black Stars Hang faisait découvrir et explorer les espaces inaccessibles à notre petite humanité confortable, Dark Matter semble y poursuivre l’aventure d’une manière encore plus lovecraftienne, presque nihiliste. L’Homme n’est rien dans cette immensité qu’il pense connaître, mais dont il ne voit même pas la pointe de l’iceberg. Tant de choses ont déjà été conjecturées, vérifiées puis admises dans ce dernier siècle de science, et pourtant, encore plus de questions et d’incertitudes se sont soulevées en réponse. Nous croyons savoir, mais sommes des ignorants qui s’ignorent. Des affirmations sur notre vanité et notre incapacité à considérer les infinités qui nous soutiennent et nous surplombent, que l’artiste a condensées en trois morceaux marathoniens sur 70 minutes. Ouais ma gueule.

Entre réminiscences mélodiques éparses et ressac de basses polies comme seul un Lustmord sait le faire, l’album nous submerge très vite sous ses vagues sub-hertziennes impitoyables où les seules balises lumineuses sont des astres piégés dans le champ gravitationnel d’une singularité, brûlant d’autant plus fort qu’ils s’approchent inexorablement de l’horizon des évènements. Les pulsations vaines des étoiles agonisantes se diluent progressivement dans l’éther vrombissant, tandis qu’elles accélèrent leur course effrénée vers une mort certaine dans la bouche de l’ogre insatiable à leurs pieds. Décrire l’expérience comme intimidante ne lui rend presque pas justice, tant les sentiments de désolation et de fatalité sont exacerbés : lancer Dark Matter, c’est comme écouter un trou noir supermassif respirer. Aucun espoir, aucune échappatoire, juste le droit d’être témoins de l’inconcevable au travers des cris de terreur électromagnétiques de soleils déchus, et d’attendre l’oblitération subatomique par le laminage transversal des fréquences à moins de trois chiffres avant la virgule. Un album de contemplation donc, mais d’un genre qui aurait certainement plu à ce cher Howard Phillips ; de ces contemplations dans les abysses sans fond qui nous invitent à y plonger sans jamais se retourner, de ces plongées dans l’inconnu reconnu qui n’offrent que l’issue inévitable mais salutaire de l’oubli absolu, de cette réalisation de l’insignifiance originelle qui recalibre l’âme sur les vibrations universelles qui nous dépassent complètement, pour enfin prétendre à surpasser sa condition. Ici, la lumière n’a sa place que parce qu’elle met plus en valeur les ténèbres qui s’en nourrissent : en témoigne particulièrement le second morceau Astronomicon, requiem à 4bpm pour particules au destin tragique, dont les lentes et puissantes inhalations ôtent tout oxygène à l’environnement immédiat, et qui bénéficie d’une construction progressive de ses strates atonales absolument monstrueuse.

Pour moi suite magistrale de son excellent The Place Where the Black Stars Hang, Dark Matter poursuit le voyage vers la noirceur au bout du tunnel initié alors, questionnant avec recul ce qu’on pense de notre place dans l’univers et ce qu’elle est en réalité, avec un sound design toujours d’actualité après les décennies d’activité de son créateur. L’art du dark ambient par Lustmord, c’est toujours sans aucun compromis, c’est toujours aussi démentiel, et je n’hésiterai pas à placer sa dernière galette parmi ses toutes meilleures.

CD ou digital, on peut trouver le nécessaire directement chez Touch, comme plein d’autres bonnes choses.

NONPOP (Germany):

Sieht man von zwei Live-Alben ab, so ist das vorliegende, brandaktuelle LUSTMORD-Opus “Dark Matter” die erste wirklich neue Veröffentlichung seit dem 2014er-Album “The Word As Power” – auf diesem trieb BRIAN WILLIAMS jene Lust an Innovation und Experiment, die sich auf den Alben der letzten Jahre kontinuierlich mal mehr, mal weniger subtil niederschlug, bekanntlich auf ihre einsame, unerhörte Spitze und machte zum ersten Mal in seiner langen Laufbahn von Vocals – wenn auch primär instrumental fungierend – Gebrauch. Insbesondere für die fundamentalistischen, ultra-orthodoxen Verehrer des Wahl-Kaliforniers mit walisischem Migrationshintergrund, der das Genre Dark Ambient im Grunde genommen “erfunden” hat und insofern als eine Art halbtranszendenter Gottvater der Sparte gelten darf, kam dieser Schritt einem mittelschweren Sakrileg (ob Gottvater überhaupt ein Sakrileg begehen kann, sei an dieser Stelle als spitzfindige Off-topic-Frage für Hobbytheologen hinterlegt) gleich, war indes aus nachvollziehbaren Gründen dem Konzept des Albums geschuldet und insofern durchaus gerechtfertigt, zumal das Ergebnis absolut zu überzeugen wusste, wie der Rezensent vor drei Jahren an dieser Stelle jubilierend vermeldete. – Nun, mit Innovation und Experiment (relativ zu jenem speziellen Sound, der für LUSTMORD konstitutiv ist) ist jetzt entschieden Schluss: WILLIAMS legt mit “Dark Matter” ein LUSTMORD-Album vor, wie es exemplarischer und klassischer kaum sein könnte, durch & durch gesättigt mit stockfinsteren, zappendusteren Klanglandschaften aus den entlegensten, abgrundtiefsten Tiefen des Raums. Mit “Dark Matter” besinnt sich WILLIAMS auf die Essenz seiner Musik und entfaltet über eine Gesamtspielzeit von 70 Minuten jene paradigmatisch kalte, luftleere und isolationistische Atmosphäre, welche das Album mühe- und umstandslos in eine Reihe mit Klassikern wie “Heresy”, “The Monstrous Soul”,”The Place Where The Black Stars Hang”, “Carbon/Core” oder “[Other]” einpasst.

Bezeichnender- und ironischerweise ist “Dark Matter” der erste LUSTMORD-Tonträger, der auf dem, für seine dezidiert experimentelle Programmatik und die Affinität zu elektronikbasiertem Frickelsound unterschiedlichster Provenienz hinlänglich bekannten, TOUCH-Label erschienen ist. Aus diesem Umstand vermag der kundige Rezipient immerhin eins schon mal ziemlich zweifelsfrei abzuleiten, dass nämlich kaum mit eingängiger Unterhaltungsmusik im weiteren – oder gar engeren – Sinne zu rechnen sein dürfte. Und in der Tat: auf der CD finden sich drei Stücke von jeweils 20, 23 und 27 Minuten Länge, die ernsthafter – und insofern freilich auch LUSTMORD-typischer – kaum sein könnten: Es gibt ultratieffrequentes Brummen, Dröhnen und Summen satt auf die Löffel, angereichert und verwoben mit diversen Field Recordings intergalaktischer Tonsignale, die, von NASA und ähnlichen Institutionen freundlichst zur Verfügung gestellt, dem Ganzen in der Gesamtschau jene ebenso beklemmend-unirdische wie irrlichternd-atmosphärische Wirkung verleihen, die wir vom Oevre des Mr. WILLIAMS so gut kennen und so sehr an ihm lieben. Selbstredend wäre LUSTMORD auch nicht LUSTMORD, gehörten jene extraterrestrischen Abgründe, in die “Dark Matter” den Hörer manövriert, nicht einer 100%ig humorfreien Zone an. Doch auch, wenn an diesem Punkt das statistische Risiko unfreiwilliger Komik eigentlich am höchsten ist, gelingt BRIAN WILLIAMS ganz souverän einmal mehr das Kunststück, ein tutti completo totenbierernstes Werk abzuliefern, ohne dabei auch nur im Ansatz prätentiös, abgeschmackt oder gar albern zu wirken. Das Werk steht da wie der Monolith in Kubricks “2001”, und der Mann, der hat’s nach wie vor drauf – oder besser: mehr denn je.

Wie der Titel bereits nahelegt, beschäftigt sich das Album thematisch mit dem Phänomen der Dunklen Materie, die, wiewohl nicht direkt sichtbar, in der Kosmologie postuliert wird, um die Bewegung der sichtbaren Materie im kosmologischen Standardmodell erklärbar zu machen. Die Existenz Dunkler Materie ist bislang nicht bewiesen und lediglich theoretisch bzw. anhand ihrer Wechselwirkungen mit Gravitationswellen aufzeigbar, ihr eigentliches Wesen ist jedoch weitestgehend ungeklärt. In diesem Sinne illustriert BRIAN WILLIAMS im Promotext den konzeptuellen Hintergrund des Albums: “Approximately sixty-eight percent of the Universe is unseen dark energy and approximately twenty-seven percent is unseen dark matter. […] The universe began of darkness, not of light. While space is a virtual vacuum, it does not mean there is no sound in space. It exists in space as naturally occurring electromagnetic vibrations, many well within the range of human hearing while others exist at different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum and these can be adjusted with software to bring them within our audio range.” Und eben dieses: eigentlich nicht Wahrnehmbares auf raffinierte Weise doch vernehmbar zu machen, das gelingt dem Godfather of Dark Ambient mit dem vorliegenden Album ganz vortrefflich: nicht eines der drei Stücke verfehlt seine Wirkung auch nur ansatzweise, auch wenn – oder doch: gerade weil? – das Album nüchtern und rein stilistisch betrachtet auf Innovationen und/oder Experimente, die aus dem LUSTMORD-genuinen Klanguniversum ausscherten, beinahe vollständig verzichtet. “Dark Matter” beeindruckt durch eine beispiellos dichte, stockfinstere Atmosphäre, wie man sie in dieser Perfektion insbesondere von den Alben der 1990er-Jahre kennt. Und auch heute erweist sich BRIAN WILLIAMS, der sympathische kleine Vollbarträger, der sich übrigens keineswegs zu irgendwelchen obskuren chthonischen Kulten, sondern zu einem nüchternen Atheismus bekennt, als ein – um nicht zu sagen: als der Großmeister nachtschwarzer Tiefenvibrationen schlechthin.

Der langen Rede kurzer Sinn: “Dark Matter” ist ein LUSTMORD-Album geworden, wie es im Buche steht, und für Eingeweihte wie Novizen auf dem Gebiete interstellarer Psychoakustik gleichermaßen empfehlenswert. Selten war eine CD einerseits so vorhersehbar und andererseits doch so uneingeschränkt faszinierend, packend und von der ersten bis zur letzten Sekunde alle Sinne fesselnd wie die vorliegende. – Um abschließend noch einmal den Großmeister höchstselbst zu zitieren: “Behind the world that we experience lies a veil of darkness and much is hidden between, beyond and unseen.” Schön, denkt man da doch, dass es Zeitgenossen wie ihn gibt, die uns mit akustischen Psychedelika wie “Dark Matter” dabei helfen, den Schleier wenigstens für einen kurzen Moment zu lüften, um einen flüchtigen, zappendusteren Eindruck zu erhaschen.

African Paper (Germany):

Das Weltall hat im Werk von Brian Williams schon oft eine zentrale (nicht nur metaphorische) Rolle gespielt, so etwa auf dem noch immer als Dark Ambient-Referenzwerk geltenden „The Place Where The Black Stars Hang“, auf dem im Booklet zu lesen war: „There is a place /where the black stars hang/and the strangest eons call /that amorphous mass /unknown, immense /ambivalent to all“. Immer war das All (auch) ein Signum für die Begrenztheit menschlicher Erkenntnis, für die Insignifikanz des Homo Sapiens in einem Kosmos, dessen Grenzen kaum fassbar sind; Gedanken, die sich u.a. bei Pascal, Lovecraft oder etwa Robinson Jeffers finden. “Guard yourself from the terrible empty light of space, the bottomless/Pool of the stars”, heißt es in Jeffers’ “Quia Absurdum”. In den Linernotes des neuen Albums schreibt Williams: „The universe we inhabit is a vast expense far larger than we are able to comprehend“.

Auf “Dark Matter” verwendet Williams ausschließlich zwischen 1993 und 2003 zusammengetragene Aufnahmen kosmologischer Aktivitäten (Strahlung, Quasare etc.) als Ausgangsmaterial. Schon auf dem Album „Trans Plutonian Transmissions“, das unter dem Projektnamen Arecibo 1994 veröffentlicht worden war, wurde auf solche Aufnahmen zurückgegriffen. Verglichen mit jenem Album ist „Dark Matter“ – ein Album, das schon lange geplant war – allerdings wesentlich reduzierter, minimal(istisch)er. In einem 2001 veröffentlichten Interview sprach Williams davon, er plane “a long-delayed very minimal Lustmord ambient album to be called “Dark Matter”, which will only utilize recordings of deep space and interstellar activity that I’ve collected over the years” zu veröffentlichen.

Williams hatte in den letzten Jahren immer wieder das Klangspektrum erweitert, ob etwa durch den Einsatz von Keyboards auf „Metavoid“ (die dazu beitrugen, dass sich das Album partiell Filmmusik annäherte), die Verwendung von Gitarren auf „Other“ oder aber dadurch, dass er Stimme(n) auf dem 2013 veröffentlichten „The Word As Power“ ins Zentrum rückte. Die auf „Other“ basierenden sehr reduzierten Alben „[Beyond]“ und „[The Dark Places of the Earth]“ mit „extended ambient remixes“ wirkten dagegen fast wie eine kleine Korrektur, denn auch wenn man eine allzu puristische Herangehensweise vielleicht ablehnt (da Hybride oftmals spannender sind bzw. sein können), so waren die fast schon außerweltlich klingenden tiefen Bassfrequenzen, die das Werk des gebürtigen Walisers prägen, wesentlich besser geeignet, Musik zu erzeugen, die den Hörer in einen Raum außerhalb unserer Erde beförderte, wohingegen konventionelle(re) Instrumente den Klang letztlich doch (manchmal allzu sehr) auf dem Boden der Welt verankerten.

„Dark Matter“ besteht aus drei langen Tracks: „Subspace“ beginnt mit einem melodischen Ton, bevor die typischen tiefen Basssounds einsetzen. Auf „Astronomicon“ scheint Wind zu wehen, der an Stärke zunimmt und auch „Black Static“ wird von einem dunklen Brummen dominiert, ganz so, als solle die im Booklet als Umkehrung des biblischen Schöpfungsmythos abgedruckte Behauptung „The Universe began of darkness, not of light“ unterstrichen werden. Nach 70 Minuten tiefster Schwärzer ist der Hörer sicherlich soweit, das zu glauben. [MG]

Polyphonia (Poland):

Brian Williams nagrywa pod szyldem Lustmord od przeszło trzydziestu lat. Właśnie powraca z nową dark ambientową płytą.

Williamsa uznaje się za jednego z pionierów dark ambientu. Jego mroczne dźwięki znamy także z wielu ścieżek filmowych ( „The Crow”, „Underworld”), reklam czy gier komputerowych. Brytyjczyk rejestrował swoje nagrania w tak osobliwych miejscach jak katakumby, groty, jaskinie, schrony i kopalnie. Od jego poprzedniego wydawnictwa „The Word As Power” minęły już trzy lata. Tegoroczny krążek Lustmorda nosi nazwę „Dark Matter” i dostarcza nam trzy kompozycje.

Te długie, bo ponad dwudziestominutowe utwory przenoszą nas w otchłań wszechświata, ponieważ kosmos jest motywem przewodnim tego krążka. – „Wszechświat rozpoczął się od ciemności, a nie od światła” – pisze Williams, co też dobitnie słychać w „Astronomicon”. Lustmord utkał swoją opowieść bazując na fragmentach wyszperanych z dźwiękowych zasobów (pochodzących z lat 1993 – 2003) różnych miejsc (biblioteka, radio), takich jak NASA (Cape Canaveral, Ames, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Arecibo), The Very Large Array czy The National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Poza tym wszystkim, źródło dźwięku zostało wydobyte także z kwazarów, egzotycznych obiektów astrofizycznych, kosmicznych dysz, magnetarów i nie tylko.

Twórca przekazuje nam też sporo swoich przemyśleń związanych z kosmosem: Około sześćdziesięciu ośmiu procent wszechświata jest niewidzialną ciemną energią i około dwudziestu siedem procent to niewidzialna ciemna materia. Opowiada również między innymi o drganiach elektromagnetycznych we wszechświecie, które są nieodłącznym elementem przestrzeni kosmosu.

Na „Dark Matter” w moim mniemaniu najciekawsze rzeczy dzieją się w utworze „Subspace”, gdzie w tych z pozoru statycznych i niespeszeni toczących się dronach skryły się drobinki dźwiękowe, które z jednej strony chronią nas przed wrażeniem nudy i banału, a z drugiej wzmacniają siłę wyrazu tego kosmicznego wyziewu. Warto wsiąść w kapsułę Lustmorda, ale tą z napisem „Subspace”. [ŁUKASZ KOMŁA]

Le Son du Grisli (France):

Le sujet – la matière noire – aurait pu inspirer Lustmord bien avant Dark Matter, dernière référence en date de la discographie que Brian Williams inaugura sous ce nom en duo avec John Murphy. Serait-ce alors un pas vers l’ultra-noir que ferait ici, en trois temps, l’une des grandes figures de l’ambient ombreuse ?

Il faudra tenir les claustrophobes éloignés de ces nappes soufflant le froid et de ces sirènes qui, sur deux notes, balisent un paysage lugubre qui ne peut que faire effet sur le voyageur derrière lequel se sont refermées de grandes et lourdes portes de métal. Pour cette sorte de descente aux Enfers qu’il lui a promise, Lustmord oblige en plus son invité à un transport aussi lent que le sien.

Prendre, alors, garde aux bruits sourds que vobulent les résonances et les vents contraires : confinée à un environnement hostile mais ravissant aussi, l’écoute s’empare d’un paquet de rumeurs auxquelles elle attachera presque autant de fantasmes noirs. Si la dernière piste est moins impressionnante – allongeant l’expérience d’une distance de trop – est-ce parce qu’elle accompagne le lent retour à la surface du musicien et de son invité ? [Guillaume Belhomme]

Touching Extremes (net):

How many times has the name “Lustmord” been uttered or typed, when it comes to music impassively conveying the darkness of abyssal cavities, or a hypothetical illustration of atemporal void?

Now, seeing a Brian Williams release on Touch is one of those natural events that for a reason or another had not happened, but was meant to. Dark Matter is the obvious culmination of a process destined to engender a classic; and boy, is this record a classic – with the capital C. Consisting of three extended tracks, it’s perhaps the most profound cycle of quasi-standstills and stupefactive climates ever conceived by the California-resident Welshman.

Born from elements of cosmological activity, the electroacoustic lattice conjures up imponderable ubiquities, foggy prospects and heartrending remote calls. Not a surprise, of course. Prohibitively low ranges represent the predominant factor in the mix; a severe immensity derived from layers of immeasurable sub-pulses and altered tones. Prior to reading explanations, I was hearing whales in there. The mind, you know.

Contrarily to the myths surrounding the deus ex machina, we’re quite distant from the evocation of malign spirits, and never for a second we perceived a “rich soundtrack for black hole tripping” smell. Instead, Williams is a master of confluences, diverse sonic currents uniting in a huge tidal wave of brain-nourishing frequencies. These atmospheres appear more submarine than lunar to these ears, though; one is sure that there are dangers lurking, but is equally convinced that it would be preferable to push the existence through this lucid numbness rather than come back to hear squalid everyday characters polluting silence.

Imitators, dissolve yourselves in a pool of tears: in this playground, Lustmord remains untouchable.

Against the Silence (Greece):

Οι δυνατότητες μας είναι περιορισμένες, οι αισθήσεις μας ατελείς και η φαντασία μας δεν μπορεί να καταλήξει στο τι μπορεί να συμβαίνει στην κάθε μακρινή “γωνία” του σύμπαντος. Ο Brian Williams, γνωστός ως Lustmord, υπόσχεται να μας μεταφέρει στην απύθμενη μεγάλη περιοχή πέρα από τον γαλαξία της Ανδρομέδας, βγάζοντας από το μυαλό μας κάθε έννοια του χώρου, του χρόνου, της απόστασης, της φοράς. Dark Matter το όνομα του άλμπουμ που θα κυκλοφορήσει από την Touch στις 30 Σεπτέμβρη. Τρία εξαιρετικά μελετημένα κομμάτια-αποσπάσματα που βρίσκονται υπό κύηση από το 2001. Η συλλογή των ήχων έγινε από το Cosmological Activity της NASA, The Very Large Array, The National Astronomy Observatory και διάφορες άλλες πηγές.

Με επίκεντρο γύρω από την ιδέα ότι το σύμπαν αποτελείται κυρίως από σκοτεινή ενέργεια, το Dark Matter μας πετάει ομαλά στο άγνωστο, πέρα από κάθε φαντασία, ανάμεσα σε γαλαξιακές ηχητικές παρεμβολές, διαστρικά πλάσματα και μόρια, ακτινοβολίες από συνθλίψεις κηφήνων και χιονοστιβάδες από κοσμικούς πίδακες.

Ondarock (Italy):

La lunga gestazione di un’opera d’arte può dipendere non soltanto da un’ispirazione intermittente o dalla necessità di rivedere insistentemente ogni dettaglio, inseguendo una propria idea di “perfezione” e compiutezza. A volte quel che manca è un’adeguata materia prima, elementi di base senza i quali certe suggestioni possono risultare falsate, al loro fautore più che a coloro che ne fruiranno in seguito.
Per un maestro di lunga data della dark-ambient come Brian “Lustmord” Williams, elaborare una rappresentazione dell’immenso vuoto cosmico non poteva prescindere dalle seppur minime tracce sonore rilevate e catalogate presso gli istituti astronomici, che hanno così aggiunto un prezioso corpus documentario al patrimonio scientifico dell’umanità.

Gli strumenti della Nasa e di altri importanti osservatorii hanno reso percepibili diversi fenomeni cosmologici che altrimenti non potremmo udire nel loro contesto d’origine, dove ogni equipaggiamento risulta essenziale per isolare il corpo dall’energia distruttiva delle particelle subatomiche. Le registrazioni custodite nei rispettivi archivi sono state effettuate tra il 1993 e il 2003: Williams ha atteso diversi anni prima di poterle ascoltare e solo un anno fa vi ha messo mano per creare “Dark Matter”, tra le uscite di punta della Touch per il 2016.

Se in molti casi l’obiettivo ultimo della musica ambient è quello di stabilire un contatto empatico con chi ascolta, ricercando più o meno direttamente certe sensazioni distensive o estatiche, la corrente dark ottiene il proprio effetto perturbante con la negazione del suono armonico, dando paradossalmente voce a un vuoto pneumatico che muova in direzione di un prosciugamento totale, di senso come di tratti estetici.
È l’assenza di legami con la realtà percepita a generare l’orrore atavico e pervasivo di questi tre atti unici. E per dire la verità, se non ne conoscessimo la fonte, sarebbe difficile indovinare la provenienza di questi suoni, foggiati alla stessa maniera dei primi esperimenti glaciali di Thomas Köner come anche della torbida “Blood Music” di Yen Pox, di segno opposto all’origine ma con approdi convergenti nella stessa inumana desolazione.

Il soundscape circoscritto da Lustmord è solo una possibile sintesi di ciò che intende rappresentare, ma è comunque sufficiente a farci immaginare una vastità in minima parte occupata da corpi solidi, talmente sproporzionata da sfuggire alla parola e annullare i termini di confronto con l’esperienza limitata del nostro mondo.
Ogni elemento di un siffatto scenario sembra suggerire che l’avventura si sia spinta oltre un limite invalicabile, troppo al di là della nostra comprensione: in “Subspace” risuonano i lamenti di radar dispersi, fioche spie luminose che galleggiano nel nulla più profondo; “Astronomicon” (forse dal lovecraftiano “Necronomicon”?) ne è l’epicentro impossibile, il crocevia di scie cosmiche che si intersecano esercitando attriti sinistri nella loro mancata collisione.

“Black Static” è un soffio continuo e opprimente che sembra trascinare con sé l’ombra di una forma di vita inconoscibile, un’immagine la cui statura abnorme è offuscata dagli anni luce che ce ne separano. La nostra ricerca è ancora agli inizi, e non sembra esistere un terrore abbastanza sovrastante da scoraggiarla.
Prendete una bella boccata d’ossigeno prima di affrontare questa lunga traversata, sapendo che il ritorno potrebbe non essere un’opzione. [Michele Palozzo]

Bad Alchemy (Germany):


Musik an Sich (Germany):

Lustmord ist eines der wohl bekanntesten Dark-Ambient-Projekte. Bereits seit 1981 veröffentlicht Brian Williams unter diesem Namen Alben. Inzwischen sind es über 25. Dabei und auch daneben arbeitete er mit einigen bekannten Namen, unter anderem Jon Ballance, Chris & Cosey, Clock DVA, Current 93, Melvins, Nurse with Wound und sogar Musikern von Tool zusammen und komponierte Filmscores für Filme wie “The Crow”.

Für sein neues Album Dark Matter verarbeitete er Fieldrecordings aus den Jahren 1993 – 2003, die er unter anderem auf verschiedenen NASA-Arealen wie z.B. Cape Canaveral und Arecibo aufgenommen hat. Der Hintergrund des Albums ist die Dunkelheit des Alls, am besten beschrieben in der Aussage des Künstlers: „The Universe began with darkness, not with light“.

Diese Aussage spiegelt dann auch wie der Albumtitel ziemlich genau wieder, was den Hörer erwartet. Die drei Tracks des Albums, zwischen 20 und knapp 28 Minuten lang, sind oberflächlich gehört drei überlange, dunkle Drones. Doch diese haben es wirklich in sich. Denn Lustmord gelingt es, sehr viel Tiefe in diesen Sound zu bringen. So beginnt das erste Stück mit etwas helleren Keyboardsounds. Unter diesen beginnen dunkle Sounds zu rumoren und es breiten sich langsam Sounds und Geräusche aus. Lustmord gelingt es über die komplette Spielzeit, durch das langsame Einbringen neuer Sounds, das leichte Verschieben der Klänge, minimale Veränderungen von Tempo und Sound, eine unglaubliche Tiefe zu erschaffen.

Dass daraus nicht 70 fröhliche Tanmusikminuten entstehen, sollte jedem klar sein. Nein, die teilweise durchaus auch mal beängstigenden Sounds führen den Hörer mit einem gelungenem Spannungsbogen durch diesen dunklen Soundtrack. Gehört über Kopfhörer kann man in diesen Sounds eine tiefe Entspannung finden, oder einen Albtraum erleiden, sollte man beim Genuss der Scheibe einschlafen.

Dark Matter gehört sicherlich zu dem Besten, was die Dark Ambient- / Drone-Szene bieten kann. [Wolfgang Kabsch]

Resident Adviser (USA):

Brian Williams first made reference to Dark Matter back in 2001, and even then it was “long-delayed.” The album’s concept is still promising 15 years later: music made from recordings of deep space and cosmic activity between 1993 and 2003, collected from a variety of sources, including NASA. What does deep space sound like? It’s foreboding and impossibly huge, enveloping and empty all at once. In other words, it sounds like a Lustmord record, albeit a near-impenetrable one that makes his previous albums sound like a walk in the park.

“Dark matter” refers to an unknown material estimated to make up about 27% of the universe, and this album is similarly implacable. It’s droning and all-encompassing, coating any environment it enters with a sense of dread and wonder. If outer space is thought of as a vacuum with no life or sound, then Dark Matter paints a more fanciful picture. Here, deep space is a never-ending vista of the unknowable, saturated with the humming and buzzing of the universe.

From the first moment of “Subspace” you’re suspended in Williams’ severe world, a stage-setting that dwarfs and immerses the listener. Trying to pick out details in the audio is like squinting to see shapes in a pitch-black room. As your ears adjust, you notice things: pockets of static, a high whooshing that’s somewhere between whale cries and sonar pings. The latter sound repeats irregularly throughout Dark Matter, disappearing during the formidable rumble of “Astronomicon” and then surfacing again later. It’s one of the only recognizable motifs on a record that otherwise feels like a wall of atmospheric noise.

Though the mood is no different from previous Lustmord records, Dark Matter is more opaque. Williams is largely credited with inventing dark ambient, but Dark Matter toes a line between that genre and regular ambient music. A Lustmord classic like Heresy made use of guitar and other instruments in a way typically associated with rock music, while his last album, The Word As Power, prominently featured vocals. They had unnerving melodies and progressions, tension and release. Dark Matter has no such window dressing. It’s just the lonely sound of outer space, manipulated into formless, 20-plus-minute compositions.

Dark Matter is an oppressive record in Williams’ already challenging discography. It sounds totally out of time and place, fitting for a project that took almost two decades of working with otherworldly source material. It’s no surprise that Williams found inspiration in a lifeless, blackened realm that few have fully explored—that’s basically what he’s been doing from the start. [Andrew Ryce]

Trust (Germany):

Musique Machine (UK):

Dark Matter sees this industrial legend & dark ambient pioneer returning to one of his favourite subjects/ themes- deep dark space, and it’s often eerier vast-ness. This CD release from late summer 2016 offers up three lengthy works, and it’s fair to say it’s some of the most compelling & haunting dark ambience I’ve heard in a good few years.
The three twenty-to-twenty seven minute tracks are built around a blend of manipulated recordings of deep space sounds and cosmic activity from between the years 1993 and 2003- taking in recordings from various sources, including NASA. These recordings are skilfully stretched, layered, and built together to create these vast & slowly shifting sound-worlds, which take in the vastness, mystery, and wholly compelling atmospheric darkness of deep space. Each track is both eventful, yet considered in it’s unfold- with Lustmord very carefully treading the line between worthy compositionally progression and atmosphere. Also there is a fairly varied blend of different types of texturally settings, as well as often memorable & haunting harmonic drifts running through all three of the tracks lifetimes.

From the very start to the last minute one is total captured by the albums slowly shifting sonic landscapes- like all great ambient work this has to taken as a whole journey, and one long 70 minute ride. You have to let yourself become one with the slow ebb & flow of the sonic landscapes; as you both ponder the seemingly uncharted vastness of space, and mankind’s small-ness with in the universe.

Simply put Dark Matter is a dark ambient masterpiece- which I can see myself returning to again & again, for both it’s skilful unfold, cleverly layered detail, and haunting yet highly compelling vast-ness.

Spectrum Culture (USA):

What does space sound like? A lot like a Lustmord album. On its new album Dark Matter, made in part from the sampled sounds of space, it’s hard to tell what’s what.

If you know anything about outer space, it’s easy to tell which sounds couldn’t possibly come from there: the wet, fuzzy sea of static that threatens to subdue “Astronomicon,” for instance, or the dubby pings near the beginning of the same song. The drones on “Black Static” fade about halfway through into what sounds like a singing bowl, that staple of dark ambient. The opening high notes of “Subspace” form too neat a melody to have arisen naturally.

Lustmord and whatever being or force of nature created the cosmos like a lot of the same sounds: deep bass rumbles, subsonic drones. What might sound like outer space to anyone who’s tuned into NASA’s library of cosmic field recordings – or heard any other recording made with space sounds, like Biosphere’s Autourd de la Lune or Terry Riley’s Sun Rings – might as easily be generated by Lustmord’s electronics.

Welsh industrial musician Brian Williams has recorded under the Lustmord name since 1980, and has released dozens of albums since then. He has made recordings from sources that are disparate and unusual, from slaughterhouses to Tibetan horns. Most of the sounds here could be found on any one of his previous albums. If the new album doesn’t offer many surprises, fans should like it just fine. It delivers more of what Williams has always dished out: deep, bassy, dark, amelodic ambient music. Some may be disappointed Lustmord didn’t do a bit more with the space sounds; this doesn’t make quite as flamboyant a show of its source material as The Word As Power, the band’s last studio album, did with its high-profile guest vocalists. Furthermore, Dark Matter is slight at only three tracks, though each carries its weight.

Non-Lustmord fans should be warned: this stuff requires patience. Each track clocks in at between 20 and 30 minutes, long even by ambient standards. Listeners used to music this formidable will delight in getting lost in its cavernous drones and every minuscule change in texture (really the album is all texture) will take on the significance of a major event. Those who like their ambient shorter, cleaner and prettier might be left wondering why the record’s been going for half an hour and nothing has happened yet. (Try falling asleep to it.)

Dark Matter expertly evokes the vastness of outer space. Though this is dark ambient, there’s little foreboding or dread. Instead, Lustmord creates an eerie, sterile calm, occasionally interrupted by swells of bass that seem impossibly huge but distant – miles, perhaps even light-years, off. Not much happens in space, but it’s still a dangerous, mysterious, frightening place. The same could be said of Dark Matter, an album content to do little more than create a void for the listener to get sucked into. [Daniel Bromfield]

Brainwashed (USA):

Brian Lustmord’s latest opus, allegedly first begun 15 years ago, attempts to evoke the immense void and mystery of space using a host of cosmological recordings from NASA and others as his source material. There are a number of serious hurdles standing in the way of that ambitious and quixotic objective, sadly, but Dark Matter boasts enough flashes of inspiration to make it an interesting and valiant struggle. Though serious Lustmord fans will probably be delighted to hear Brian revisiting similar territory to his classic The Place Where the Black Stars Hang album, his epic vision is hobbled a bit by the limitations of the format.

Dark Matter opens with its strongest and lengthiest piece, the 27-minute “Subspace,” which is centered around a wonderfully eerie, distant, and forlorn-sounding two-note melody. While that “hook” is the most important part of the piece for me, such touches are quite peripheral to Lustmord’s central vision here: Dark Matter is primarily an album of deep throbbing drones, cavernous rumbles, ominous whooshes, volcanic bubbling, and distant crackling. Therein lies the root of my issues with the album, as Lustmord is first and foremost a brilliant and exacting technician fixated on mood and texture, while his interest in being a composer is clearly of secondary concern. To his credit, a lack of attention to melody and harmony makes perfect sense thematically, as space is ostensibly a soundless void. Veracity and thematic purity do not always make for a great listening experience though. On this particular piece, however, Brian strikes an excellent balance between composition and sound design: “Subspace” gradually becomes subsumed by drifting emptiness and mysterious crackles before a second strong theme emerges from the lonely void in the form of something that sounds like a whale song. It is a genuinely satisfying arc. That balance is the exception rather than the rule, however: if the entire album stuck with that precarious and unpredictable ebb and flow between form and formlessness, I would probably like it a lot more than I do.

Aside from “Subspace,” Dark Matter often sounds like it is on dark ambient autopilot. Each piece ultimately boasts a showstopping set piece, but there are a lot of lengthy, frustrating lulls between flashes of actual greatness. For example, “Astronomicon” has a wonderfully haunting final motif, but it takes about 15 minutes to get there. Of course, Brian was not actually on autopilot for this album and that is where things get thorny. Part of the problem is that Lustmord (much to his chagrin) was one of the primary architects of the dark ambient genre, influencing a host of other artists in the ’90s. The resulting glut of lesser, yet very similar, music necessarily made Lustmord feel a lot less special. As a long career in film and videogame and sound design can attest, Brian is head and shoulders above most of his peers in the actual mechanics of his craft–unfortunately, however, an amorphous flow of subterranean rumbles, deep throbs, crackles, buried howls, and whooshes in the hands of a dilettante sounds a hell of a lot like the same thing done by a master on most stereos. Without anything resembling melody or rhythm, the only obvious differences between similar artists in that milieu are largely technical and conceptual.

Naturally, Brian is well aware of his predicament and has noted in the past that his rare live performances are partly done just so people can hear how Lustmord is actually supposed to sound. Consequently, Dark Matter is fundamentally a bit an indulgent and insular release, existing almost as a site-specific work designed solely to be experienced on Brian’s own amazing home stereo system, as he has observed that very few people will be able to properly experience its visceral and seismic low frequencies. Another problem is that sonically trying to evoke the bleak immensity of space is inherently futile (space’s sounds are generally at wavelengths that we cannot hear) and conveying infinity in an absorbing way is also no picnic. Trying to hold my attention for 70 minutes with hollow whooshes, clanging metal, cavernous gurgling, and muted roars is a similarly unpromising endeavor, so it takes a lot of patience, attention, and volume to fully appreciate Dark Matter’s secrets. Having to wait a quarter of an hour for both “Astronomicon” and “Black Static” to fully evolve into something remarkable is far from optimal, but both are great once they finally catch fire.

The more I listen to Dark Matter, the more I find myself conflicted about it. The only things that I am certain of are 1.) an enormous amount of work went into it, and 2.) an album is hopelessly inadequate for conveying the full majesty of Lustmord’s vision. I wanted to love Dark Matter and I lamentably do not, but the reasons for my vague sense of unfulfillment were initially hard to nail down. At first, I thought this was a significant regression from the crazily ambitious and divergent The Word as Power and that Brian’s day job has begun to bleed a bit too much into his art (at normal volume, Dark Matter would provide a perfect atmosphere for a dark sci-fi game or film). Those assessments are not entirely off the mark compositionally, as Dark Matter definitely retreats to Lustmord’s longtime comfort zone, but it is equally true that this album may very well be Brian’s magnum opus, albeit with some asterisks. I am not going to say that Brian was too ambitious, but I do believe that his intent here far outstretched the capabilities of the medium: Dark Matter is an album that begs to be experienced on a grand scale (like an earthquake) rather than just heard. As such, it is a bit underwhelming and easy to ignore for long stretches in its current form, but it is not hard to imagine these three pieces feeling like the voice of God if they were experienced at apocalyptic volume in the right context.

Blow Up (Italy):

Dark Entries (Belgium):

Dark Matter bestaat uit drie lange stukken, elk goed voor minstens 20 minuten, waarop Brian Williams aka Lustmord ons meeneemt op een ruimtereis die nog lang zal nazinderen.
De man die van essentieel belang is wat betreft het dark ambient genre, getuige hiervan een mijlpaal als Heresy (1990), nog steeds een van de meest beangstigende platen uit de muziekgeschiedenis.
‘Subspace’, waar het allemaal begint, leviteert je naar hogere stratosferen alwaar de zeer ijzige soundscapes ervoor zorgen dat een algehele ijlte zich van je meester maakt. Op het punt dat de wetten van de zwaartekracht niet meer van toepassing zijn, zweef je doorheen ‘Astronomicon’, een atmosferische trip doorheen de ruimte met al zijn verborgen geluiden die deze met zich meedraagt.
Eenmaal helemaal in de kern doorgedrongen te zijn, kom je via ‘Black Static’ in een draaikolk terecht, de zuigkracht van deze spiraal is van een dergelijke kracht dat weerstand bieden zinloos is, het statische zwart waarvan sprake klinkt als een muur van atmosferische noise, en Dark Matter als geheel laat zich situeren tussen reguliere en dark ambient. Eentje waarbij je haast een drilboor nodig hebt om je doorheen te werken, vooral door de grootsheid (ook eigen aan de ruimte) ervan. Het is Lustmord dan ook gelukt om een realistisch audio beeld van de ruimte te scheppen, en meteen een garantie voor een van de opmerkelijkste platen die we dit jaar op de draaitafel mochten leggen.
Waarom Lustmord voor Dark Matter de ruimte uitkoos om zich in uit te leven, legt hij graag even zelf uit: “Het universum dat we bewonen is een enorme uitgestrektheid veel groter dan we in staat zijn te begrijpen. Als we proberen om de onderliggende structuur ervan te begrijpen en nieuwe inzichten trachten te verkrijgen in de aard van de materie, rijzen nieuwe vragen op en worden verdere hiaten in ons begrip onthuld.
Achter de wereld die we ervaren ligt er een sluier van duisternis waar nog veel tussen verborgen ligt, voorbij het ongeziene. We zijn beperkt door ons onvermogen om de oneindige breedte van het universum, de betrokken tijdschalen in zijn meetbaarheid en onze onbelangrijke positie hierin, echt te begrijpen. Bepaalde dingen zullen altijd ongekend blijven, dingen waarvan het bestaan niet begint of eindigt met de conceptie van de mens. Alles wat ooit is waargenomen door de mens, zelfs met de meest geavanceerde instrumenten, bedraagt tot minder dan vijf procent van het heelal. Ongeveer 68% van het heelal is onzichtbare donkere energie en ongeveer 27% is donkere materie. We moeten nog ontdekken wat donkere materie is, enkel kennis hieromtrent volstaat niet.
Hoewel het niet direct waargenomen is, kan met het bestaan en de eigenschappen ervan afleiden uit de effecten op de zichtbare materie, de invloed ervan op de grootschalige structuur van het heelal en de gevolgen ervan in de kosmische achtergrondstraling ervan niet ontkennen.
Het universum begon vanuit duisternis, niet uit licht.
Hoewel de ruimte een virtueel vacuüm is, betekent dit niet dat er geen geluid in de ruimte is. Ze bestaan in de ruimte als natuurlijk voorkomende elektromagnetische trillingen waarvan vele binnen het bereik van het menselijk gehoor liggen, terwijl anderen bestaan op verschillende gebieden van het elektromagnetisch spectrum, die aangepast met software, binnen ons audiogebied gebracht kunnen worden.
De opnames van deze interacties in de ruimte komen van verschillende omgevingen, waaronder radio, ultra violet, microgolven en X-ray data en binnen deze spectra is er een breed scala aan bronnen, waaronder instellaire plasma en moleculen, radio melkwegstelsels, pulsar masers en quasars, interacties en emissies van geladen deeltjes, straling, exotische astrofysische objecten, kosmische stralen en vuurpijlen uit magnetars.”
De geluiden die Lustmord verzamelde zijn niet zomaar eigen verzinsels, ze werden afgeleid uit een audio bibliotheek van kosmologische activiteit, verzameld tussen 1993 en 2003. Hiervoor werden verschillende bronnen geraadpleegd waaronder de NASA (Cape Canaveral, Ames, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory en Arecibo), The Very Large Array, The National Radio Astronomy Observatory maar ook verschillende educatieve instellingen en particuliere donateurs in heel Amerika.
Een vette kluif dus voor sciencefiction fanaten, of mensen die bezig zijn met astronomie. Maar ook al heb je niet zo veel met het thema, dan nog kan je er niet omheen dat dit een gitzwarte ambient plaat is. In het verleden dook hij al onder de grond voor een duistere sound (ten tijde van Heresy was dat, grotendeels opgenomen in bunkers, kelders, grotten, etc.), Dark Matter toont dat mijlenver boven de grond de sfeer ook unheimlich en Lustmord-scary is. [Dimi Brands]

freq (UK):

Lustmord has long had an affinity with space, both the sonic space of his heavily dub-inspired soundscapes and the actual physical space of the cosmos. For people of Lustmord’s and my generation, space was our future — where we all expected to be hanging out by the start of this century.Thanks to, in William S Burroughs‘ words, “the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams”, it was not to be.

As is the nature of advance review copies these days, Dark Matter arrived in digital format. After a couple of plays, it was evident that my Mac speakers, adequate for most things, were not up to the full sonic spectrum here… so a bit of re-wiring to link up my PA system then… ah that’s more like it! Despite being pigeon-holed as the founder of “dark ambient”, Lustmord’s music is anything but ambient and demands to be heard at as high a volume as is practical (fortunately my neighbours were away).

constructed from cosmological recordings obtained from NASA, The Very Large Array, The National Radio Astronomy Observatory and various educational institutions and other sources who “wish to remain anonymous”

A precedent to Dark Matter may be Tangerine Dream‘s 1970 masterpiece Zeit — both share an alchemical power to morph time and sound into space — but whereas TD employed cutting edge electronics of their era to evoke the vastness of the universe, Lustmord uses the sound of the universe itself. The three tracks, each over twenty minutes long, are constructed from cosmological recordings obtained from NASA, The Very Large Array, The National Radio Astronomy Observatory and various educational institutions and other sources who “wish to remain anonymous”, and are sewn together to stretch out into infinity… and beyond.

Lustmord’s interest in astrophysics was first evident in 1993’s The Place Where the Black Stars Hang, and Dark Matter does in some ways seem like a sequel. In the intervening twenty-three years, Lustmord has naturally acquired far more experience and Dark Matter subsequently gains a deeper tonal range and more noticeably, a wonderfully expansive yet subtle spacial soundscape.

the human element is entirely absent here, apart from its insignificance in the scheme of things

If you listen to the album at high volume or through headphones, you are guaranteed to float off into space… at a fraction of NASA’s budget. Dark Matter is very different to Lustmord’s previous release The Word as Power, which came up close and intimate to explore the rich textures of the human voice — the human element is entirely absent here, apart from its insignificance in the scheme of things; but hey, who wants the same thing twice?

Apparently some of these sounds are actually generated within the range of human hearing, despite the conception of there being no sound in space, while others have been transformed into our range via software manipulation. According to Mr Lustmord:

The recordings of these interactions in space come from several different environments including radio, ultra violet, microwave and X-ray data and within these spectra a wide range of sources including interstellar plasma and molecules, radio galaxies, pulsars masers and quasars, charged particle interactions and emissions, radiation, exotic astrophysical objects, cosmic jets and flares from magnetars.

Turn out the lights, turn up the volume and bon voyage. [Alan Holmes]

Gonzo Circus (Belgium):


Rockaxis (Spain):

Álbum que se instituye como antagonista físico de las seis partes en que se divide el destacado y subterráneo “Heresy” (1990), disco que se originaba en grabaciones realizadas en cuevas, volcanes, criptas, y en un variado espectro de sonidos emanados desde las profundidades de la tierra. Sin embargo, en este “Dark Matter”, el calvo hombre del hexágono dirige su mirada hacia el oscuro universo: las tres extensas pistas que lo integran se originan en audios de actividad astronómica recogida por diversas instituciones encargadas de desarrollar la compleja tarea de resolver, comprender  y explicar el misterio infinito, aquello sin inicio, sin tiempo ni muerte.

‘Subspace’ comienza como un despegue, como el brote de un viaje por regiones tonales constantes que parecieran estáticas en su siniestra textura. Un lento avance que se desenvuelve entre pesadas frecuencias amenazadas por ecos tormentosos provenientes de lugares inobservados del ingrávido universo. Una perspectiva que plasma un tenebrismo espacial que persiste en ‘Astronomicon’, pieza que cita al poema cósmico más antiguo que se conoce, y cuya terrorífica sonoridad pareciera cinematográfica, como si relatara terribles enfrentamientos solares o espesas explosiones siderales que interrumpen los minimalistas mantos sonoros que se extienden por amplios minutos.

El debut de Lustmord en el encumbrado sello Touch, propiedad de Jon Wozencroft (creador de la abstracta carátula de éste y muchos otros discos editados por la plataforma), continúa con ‘Black Static’, pieza de una condensada energía que se va liberando entre profundas exhalaciones electrónicas. Un drone etéreo pero, a su vez, orgánico, como de animal vivo y de oscuridad latente que se exalta a través de extendidas radiaciones de timbre microscópico y eléctrico. Un oscilante bucle astral con el que Lustmord habla por un cosmos que pareciera mudo e inasible, acentuando que aun cuando todo lo que es, deje de serlo, igualmente subsistirá el enérgico concierto del universo, el ruido secreto de lo infinito. [Carlos Navarro A.]

Neural (Italy):

Brian Williams, aka Lustmord – a veteran of dark ambient scenes and member of the industrial combo SPK – has for the first time published a solo album under his own name with Touch Music, an old and well-known, experimental British label. The label was founded by Jon Wozencroft, having the aim to emphasize an approach more focused on multimedia and audio-video. This release is a perfect addition to the label’s catalogue: an interesting, detailed and super-vivid cosmogony. The starting inspiration is a creative vacuum, an image that recalls any act of creation, both artistic and physical. “We’ve always tried to pay attention to all of those invisible feelings and ideas about atmosphere and space and presence that are difficult to talk about and need a context in order to be talked about.” This was what Jon Wozencroft said about Touch, long time before this release. The words now make even more sense, following the inspiration of dark matter, a formless substance looking for new models of aggregation, a different and propulsive breath. The sounds played by Williams in this album are field recordings coming from several sources including NASA (Cape Canaveral, Ames, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Arecibo), The Very Large Array, The National Radio Astronomy Observatory and various educational institutions and private supporters all over the USA. These sounds are waves and frequencies traveling over the sidereal space. Some of them are difficult to be recognized by the human ear. According to scientific studies, the sound waves cannot be transmitted in the vacuum of space. If outer space is seen as a vacuum, a dream world where synthetic landscapes and plasticity of visual forms invented by Lustmord correspond to a state of mind, this suspended galaxy, filled by a kind of all-inclusive buzz, goes beyond every infinitesimal singular body. The composition refers to the old-school kosmische musik, suspended between the krautrock and ambient. As a result, this production is at the same time hyper-contemporary while also being classic and vibrant too. [Aurelio Cianciotta]