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Humming and Hovering, Amalthea’s “II” Is Draped in Digital Decay

by Andrew Schmitt

Support Andrew by checking out his post-industrial project Misandr here.

Amalthea occupies an interesting liminal space juxtaposed between the low-end hum and clanging percussion of ritual drone and the stark electronic tones which emanate from primitive synths and rudimentary circuits. Each of the four tracks has a distinct pulse in their own way, keeping a semblance of a keel on a vast and improbable ship. This pulse usually has a nigh-subsonic wave that carries over it, steady in their undulations and soothing in their resonance. Subtle accents of static add even more texture to these fundaments, while a ringing reminiscent of a flagpole in the wind increases the sense of loneliness and distance. Sometimes a lurching gasp of contained white noise emerges, evoking the respiration of some lost construct, struggling to maintain momentum.

String plucks play among the drones, at times providing the pulse, the hum like a blanket emitted by amplifiers working in concert. In other passages the string plucks are the drones, massive and resonant, echoing and thrumming.

Side A feels more digital, like a Commodore computer trapped in a cave, attempting to conjure tones to communicate using the only methods it knows how. Subsonic booms as well as ascending and descending digital tones all cast out with lengthy sustain. This computer knows not whom it calls out to, only that it must broadcast its existence in the hope of being recognized.

The second side has much less of that computer-generated atmosphere and exhibits more attributes of ritual drone, supported with ringing, metallic clangs and a deep bass wave that pitches and yaws, driving ever forward. The distance and immensity are still present, but for whatever reason the computer communication feels less alienating and lonesome.

At times a soothing warm blanket of hum and at others alienating and unsettling, Amalthea wrangles disparate elements to create a compelling listen on II—one that drowns as much as sustains.

Cloister Recordings

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