There’s a difference between pummeling and massaging; on Ulterior, the debut full-length record from Resterecords head-honcho Adam Matschulat, the artist rides this line closely, providing heavily distorted percussive frequencies at both breakneck and ambling speeds. From the get-go, on introductory song “Vexed,” these sounds are all-encompassing and unrelenting. It’s a suitable introduction to the record’s synthesis of power electronics and the dark ambient techno of something like Haxan Cloak. That said, Matschulat is far from a one-trick pony; there’s far more to the artist than an overwhelming rhythm section.
As the album waxes towards its phenomenal eight-minute title track, the listener becomes increasingly acquainted with Matschulat’s wildly gyrating world. The record features old and new recordings, synthesizers, and Adam’s heavily effected screaming voice—a voice that blends in surreptitiously with the record’s deeply ominous leanings. It’s miasmic, but it’s also varied, hyper-composed, haunting, and solidified by the artist’s uncanny penchant for surprise. “Let no subgenre leaf be left unturned,” might read Matschulat’s epitaph. Beautiful bowed instruments and field recordings make appearances, and while the artist describes the release as “a violent and anxious ride through his own personal notions of our fragile and circumstantial existence through the themes of restraint, dissociation, loneliness and vulnerability,” he does the riding while reflecting on a sinister, ubiquitous social system.
As mentioned earlier, the title track is phenomenal. It’s fucking incredible, actually—the kind of track that makes a nice boy like myself reconsider his Catholic upbringing. It’s eight minutes of a seriously filthy drum pattern, conflating with a swirling, airy mess, and it feels like three. Frankly, it’s worth the price of admission alone, recalling both early Genocide Organ and more modern mavericks like Alberich, who both happen to be my favorite industrial musicians. So maybe I’m biased, but I can’t recommend this release enough.