It doesn’t take an occultist to identify with and appreciate the works of the Denver-based Justin Larwick (aka Aleph.Null). Larwick’s project, Shadowcaster, results in some genuinely nasty melodies, supported by pulsing beats and calculated dissonance.
Larwick’s Visions of Zosimos achieves a calming yet irreverent tone with astounding ease, perfectly conveying his intending influences of ancient ritual with a modern twist. Each track melds easily and completely with all others in the set. The whole of the album is something spectacularly unsettling, if not downright malevolent.
Almost as intriguing as the music itself is Larwick’s focus on the relationship between his music and performance art. Each set is developed to accompany a single live performance art piece and is not repeated in the live setting. The live sets often feature occult-based rituals, often involving gore and human suspension, a perfect visualization of Larwick’s brooding sounds.
Not for the faint of heart, ShadowCaster’s Visions of Zosimos is a memorable compilation of tracks, driving one to believe in the presence of something truly evil, even if only for the 24 minutes and 56 seconds of the album. Though I have no alignment with the occult, I consider this set to be nightmare and a treasure – one that will enter my listening rotation on a regular basis.
After three years of having albums released through small run tape labels, kosmische revivalist Steve Hauschildt finally gets a proper release for his mind bending work. Being one third of the Ohio zoned out giants, Emeralds, his solo work could be easily overlooked. ”Tragedy & Geometry” is an album with focused energy on shorter compositions rather than the long form style of his earlier releases.
The aura of this album generates feelings of a mature nature, completely packed with lush synth zones and melancholic, meandering arpeggios. The opening track, “Polyhymnia”, is a representation of just that. The fourth track and one of my favorites on the album, “Already Replaced”, starts off with a delicate arpeggio quickly being met kindly by airy, melancholic undertones to give the intention that you or something else being replaced. Shimmering, high toned synth calms that melancholic smoke by dancing a melody around it. ”Music for Moiré pattern” is the only slow burner on the album clocking in at a comfortable 11 minutes and reminds me heavily of his work with Emeralds. The quasi-distorted synth that comes in two thirds of the way through is reminiscent of Mark McGuire’s fret board magic and trails off for the rest of the track. The last track, “Stare into Space”, brings everything full circle. As the track hones in on friendly arpeggios again, it really smooths out into a suggestive soundscape relating to the closing of the album.