Published Mar 27, 2018Sascha Borchardt, who records electronic music as Monoloc, has launched a new label dedicated to ambient drone and noise recordings. Unterland is German for Lowlands (perhaps a nod to last year's marvelous Taylor Deupree-Marcus Fischer collaboration under the same name). This inaugural release features Monoloc with Beauty of Inconsequenz.
These eight new tracks incorporate extended spoken-word segments, field recordings and electronics. Primarily dark ambient in style, there are also understated dubstep influences.
"Nervous System" opens the EP with a cliché-heavy scene featuring an anxious group trying to decide what to do with the alien that's landed in front of them. Moody synth lines only add to the sense that we've heard all this before. Best thing about it is that it ends abruptly just over a minute in.
"Gentle Shift" comes next; despite its hopeful title, it offers up more of the same. The beat is interesting, but it competes with another non-specific spoken-word recording of actors trying hard to sound dramatic. The TV theme music layered over top is uninteresting and intrusive. Like track one, it ends with a hard stop.
Instrumental tracks like "Flowing," "Thrilling" and "Nylon" are better. Clearly, Borchardt is a significant talent who has earned an international following. The EP's best track, "Baum der Erlösung," comes last. It demonstrates clearly his ability to produce imaginative work in this subgenre. On balance though, this first Unterland release is uninspiring. (Unterland)