I’ll start this review by letting the label describe the music on this new outing from Kalte: “At over six thousand metres below sea level, the Hadopelagic Zone is the deepest layer of the ocean, an area where water pressure is over a hundred times stronger than on the surface and where light cannot penetrate… Kalte explore the darkness that permeates this inhospitable space, music inspired by massive pressures and arctic depths, heavy sounds from unknown sources, ominous and dark tones never heard outside of this watery abyss.” And this is exactly what the duo of Rik MacLean and Deane Hughes deliver–a stunning density of isolationist ambient sound, chillingly cold and marginally disturbing. There’s no way to get comfortable with this disc; it’s clearly out to drag you down and exert itself in increasing sonic pressure until you succumb. Motion is minimal; light is non-existent; there is no relief. Listen to the Morse-Code-type beeps that cut into “Harbig-Haro Object.” Is there any question that it’s an unanswerable distress call? Too far down, too far gone. The rawness of the tone, the desperation, cuts through the thick dronework. Only we hear it, and we are powerless to respond. “Asthenosphere” grinds with cloying bass that pulses into the skull like ungiving pressure. Slowly, in this final track, Kalte relent just a bit to let the listener find their way back toward the surface.
Fissures clocks in at under 40 minutes but the absolute intensity of the thing and its unshakable grip make it feel like you’ve spent much more time down there. Dark ambient fans will dive headfirst into this one; there’s a lot to explore if you can take it.
Available from Petcord.