I would not be the one to best tell you what separates a good dark ambient/isolationist ambient CD from a bad one or what makes a certain CD a “classic” in the sub-genre. It’s never been an area that warrants strong focus from me as a listener. So I have to take Malignant Records’ word for it when they tell me that Yen Pox’s 1995 cassette recording, Blood Music, is a “benchmark” album in dark ambient.
What I can tell you, however, is that with the CD reissue of Blood Music, I have found myself immersed in, if not engulfed by, the sheer density and depth of this music. I’d go so far as to say that in focused listens for this review, there are times when I’ve gotten absolutely lost. The sounds here range from thick and heavy to sparse and, for lack of a better word, patient–the patience of waiting for something to occur. Something most likely unfortunate. A gripping darkness obviously rolls through everything here, and it’s appropriately relentless. Shifts in urgency act almost like beats, taking hold of your attention as the tension changes, pulling you closer, daring you to stare, fully conscious, into this wailing abyss of sound. Then it lets you go, lets you fall back, your head full of what you’ve seen there. And it’s not pretty.
I don’t know what Yen Pox have been doing in the 15 years since they created Blood Music (my Google searches haven’t turned up much), but I would be interested to hear what they would be capable of creating with updated technology at their disposal. That’s my takeaway from listening to Blood Music–it’s dark ambient that makes me actually want to hear more of it.
Available from Malignant Records.