Caldon Glover Labyrintia (2022)
Updated: Nov 18, 2022
“You like when the music fades away and gives way to blood-curdling atmospheres?”
1 The Door in the Unnamed Tower 8:13
2 A Cyclopean Plexus 7:56
3 Summoning the Cartographer 8:46
4 The Birth of the Bull of Knossos 9:26
5 Our Golden Throats Open to the Firmament 8:58
6 The World at Large is a Shrine 8:01
7 For Orcus 7:58
(CD/DDL 59:21) (V.F.)
Do you like it when it's dark and tenebrous? When the music fades away and gives way to blood-curdling atmospheres? Imagine yourself in a cemetery with a microphone so powerful that it even captures those sounds that rats make when they crunch a bone that has been dead for a decade. That's LABYRINTIA! Caldon Glover is what we call a sculptor of sounds and of sordid ambiences. The musician and sound engineer likes to carry his recorder around and capture the sounds that enrich his works, all tinted of black steel. After nearly 20 albums of Dark Ambient electronic music, the musician and sound designer from Arizona, Steve Roach's homeland, lands on the Cyclic Law label. This label from France, specialized in gothic, dark and chthonian music, is right in the palette of sounds that Caldon Glover likes to render. Equipped with rudimentary instruments, he admits to having very little financial means, he tries to get maximum effect out of his minimal equipment. He creates what he calls headphone music for solo listening in any situation. He made a notable appearance at the 2021 SoundQuest Fest, here's the link to watch the video on YouTube, with music that is far less voracious to the ears than on this LABYRINTHIA. On this album, Caldon Glover extends the domains of his universe full of tones in tune with a music of industrial ambiences as purely dark, where our ears are assailed by a plethora of muffled explosions, ominous cracks, imposing roars, whispers and many other effects skilfully constituted of an overflowing imagination of creativity for his passion of darkness. In short, a panoply of sounds and effects that depict soundscapes bordering on the sordid.
A wave of woosshh and winds as hissing as buzzing open The Door in the Unnamed Tower. Already, suspicious cracklings invade the ears, as well as this impression of murmurs which hold our senses, so much the winds whisper with vehemence. Some synth layers rise like in a gothic horn effect calling the warriors to regroup. Various beatings shake up the ambiences and make chimes twirl whose gyrating tinkling tries to create an illusion of rhythm. The track migrates towards shamanic atmospheres a little after the 5th minute. It is a synth wave that makes the introduction. Its sibylline vocals make these wizard bells dance while from nowhere rises a throaty chant that reminds us of the dark shamanic universe of Steve Roach. The synth waves have that delicate flute texture that seduces in this track, as well as in the opening of A Cyclopean Plexus. The sound mass vibrates like those droning drones that blow those anxious moments into the Dark Ambient universe. Various elements of acoustic percussion, like deer antlers being rubbed, resonate in this mass of sound that breaks down into sound particles. Like a drizzle of tones in a forest where the walk is a challenge to counter fright. It could very well serve the cause of a film like The Blair Project, so much the music is black and white, and its percussive effects make us jump. Especially as the winds moo, like dozens of voices of ectoplasms lost between two universes. Summoning the Cartographer brings us to another level of the Caldon Glover universe, that of the industrial ambient. The synth layers that drift between the heavy vibratory clouds of its introduction have a screaming metal texture. This dark metallurgical symphony drifts to the other side of the spectrum with whispers of paranoia that serve as an atmospheric transition between the industrial approach and the gothic ambient music vision that dominates the second half of Summoning the Cartographer.
The Birth of the Bull of Knossos is probably the darkest track on LABYRINTIA. These synth waves have a texture of throaty voices that grumble without taking a single breath. They undulate lazily, sometimes accentuating its intonations, in a murky mosaic where elements of autumnal storms give life to tom-toms that beat a hypnotic measure. The second part of the track features organic elements that are trapped under layers of metal that disintegrate without disappearing. Our Golden Throats Open to the Firmament is a rather peculiar track. The softness of its introduction mutates into huge howls or barks that scream between metal bangings and other wild animal cries, I hear wolves here, creating a surreal canvas of animal violence. We have the impression to descend in an abyss with our nails become metal bones which cling to metal walls. In terms of barking, roaring and bellowing, a track like The World at Large is a Shrine brings its share of these vibrating chants. They multiply in a similar context to Our Golden Throats Open to the Firmament, but under imposing deafening percussions. The sound waves at the beginning are just as musical and turn into big drones that sound like sirens announcing air attacks. Gradually this plethora of synth layers and synth waves become these imposing roars that are as plaintive as they are stoic in a universe where metal waves squeak and/or rot in sound particles. For Orcus ends LABYRINTIA by exploiting the same recurrent themes of the album, but with a little more warmth in ambiences that flirt with a latent paranoia. A vision that is also projected quite often in the almost 60 minutes of an album that will disturb you, disturb the mind no matter where you choose to listen it. Another amazing achievement of Cyclic Law Music. For bold ears and intrepid minds!
Sylvain Lupari (November 15th, 2022) ***¾**
Available at Cyclic Law Bandcamp
(NB: Text in blue are links you can click on)