Pulse Emitter - Progression to Desolation (Black Horizons LP)
First ever headline vinyl appearance for Portland's Pulse Emitter, whom you should recall from the "Portland" 3xLP set not to mention countless other releases, performances, and the such. The man behind the name is Daryl Groetsch, who spends his free time building modular synthesizers for abuse on said releases and in said performances. I've only heard two things from him so far - his side of the "Portland" record which I enjoyed and a Housepig CD which I don't remember much of. I do remember hotly anticipating this LP (from the eternally-reliable Black Horizons label) and I can safely report I was not letdown in the least.
Two sidelongs occupy "Progression to Desolation", both somewhere near or around the 20-minute mark for maximum zone-out potential. The first side showcases Groetsch's buzzing synthesizer tones weaving in and out of audibility like black jets droning across a darkened sky, with intensity to be ratcheted up every few passes. Later these fluctuating notes give way to a wire-thin drone that starts out straight enough but gets progressively destroyed as Groetsch pulles and stretches it into a number of shreds and strands, before revisiting the old ominous squelches of earlier. There's then some brief interplay between the various machines used to generate these sounds before a flush of white noise creeps through and fills just about every empty space in the piece with sonic obliteratum. The whole thing is something of a curious mix between Rafael Toral, Joseph Hammer, prog/kraut leanings, and The Thing soundtrack. Sign me up.
Like the first side, side two features drones that ebb and flow but rather than cycle in a perpetual disappearing/reemerging act, they remain a continous beam of uneasy sound, churning and gnawing with constant waves of analog gloom. Those oceanic swells worm around for nearly half the piece till an electronic sizzle breaks the trancem leading the remainder of the record into hushed, minimal-shifting drone turf very much more along the lines of an Eliane Radigue than the ear-busting noise skree one might be expecting from someone so closely affiliated with that kinda crowd. Nay, "Progression" is an admirable work, both of maturity and of restraint. Highly recommended, but limited to 300 copies (with a different painting on the front of each!) so don't dawdle.