Dark, claustrophobic ambient is in store for you on Twilight Transmissions’ Subterranean. This is the musical equivalent of walking through a bad neighborhood in a moonless midnight, assailed by the constant certainty that something bad is going to happen at any moment. Christopher Alvarado takes aggressive beats and makes them plod through the murky sound on tracks like “Palace of Silence” and “Tenebrous.” They’re more like a threat of imminent harm than a rhythm, time signatures stomped out in iron-shod boot-falls. And then there are spaces like “Essence of Dust” and “Eternal Remote,” pieces that exist just to test limits, to put us very much alone somewhere with only unease to keep us company to see what our minds conjure out of the depth shadow. The collection of sound sources at play here make you take notice and drag you in. They’re uncomfortable, mutilated industrial sounds, the collective grinding of rust-aged machinery and jagged edges–dangerously compelling sounds that, craftily modulated and manipulated by Alvarado, keep Subterranean from being just another dark ambient album. A disc well worth enduring, Subterranean will reward you for your bravery with a deeply engaging, if not entirely safe, journey.
Available from Dungeon Recordings.