Published Sep 30, 2016As well as being a collaborator with all kinds of experimental metal musicians including Tool and the Melvins, Lustmord is widely credited as the creator of the "dark ambient" genre and an accomplished Hollywood film composer. So accomplished, in fact, that even when he's not working with film his music often has a horror-cinema feel to it.
His latest album, Dark Matter, uses sounds from an audio library of cosmological activity, including material sourced from NASA and other observatories and institutions. The idea is clearly to convey the terrifying, isolated dark emptiness of outer space — and it does. But it's also a little boring, at least as presented here.
This music sounds like floating through the vast blackness alone, without direction, and without any human communication. Even when large, unknowable bodies slowly drift past (personified as bass swells), nothing comes of it. In the middle of the first track, "Subspace," some sort of grinding mid-range noise materializes and then passes without concern. Around 22 minutes in, there are some distant whale-like sounds that could be an echo of an alarm or something like sonar. It's creepy, but after 22 minutes of airy and sub-bass-y humming noise, it's hard to care.
Fans of the dark ambient genre might enjoy this album, but it's closer to Brian Eno's description of ambient music as "ignorable" than the "interesting." It's a cool sound sculpture, but it's a bit too long and motionless. If the songs were half their lengths (all three are over 20 minutes), the effect would be virtually the same. (Touch)