Helm Silencer [EP]

[PAN/Alter; 2013]

Styles: drone, noise, post-industrial
Others: Bee Mask, Pete Swanson, Heatsick

Luke Younger’s HELM project is defined by flux. Of his two releases, Silencer is more forthright in this idea, engaging time and speed’s effect on the material. Objects appear, waver, and then warp out of place. Harmonic development is only an incident, deeply impressionistic and implied rather that constructed and defined. Harmony in Silencer participates in the form of collision, objects being smashed together against their will, held together to create a combined new texture from the individual ruined ones. Harmony here is also used as a dialectical opposition to its intended meaning. Younger expands the term and body of harmony to encapsulate all material, shown at once intermingling and intertwining. One textured state coerces the other, pushing and pulling upon one another to test the boundaries of each before merging messily though nonetheless fitting together: beautiful, asymmetrically grotesque chaos.

Silencer is best listened to when in motion. From the subway, I see words outside of the window being pressed down, blurred, and molded into a single line, a single texture superimposing the cement wall that is now twisting and folding and liquidating under the presence of speed. As a single trumpet tone arises out of the fog, the analog muck and the solitary kick drum of “Mirrored Palms” strike like a heartbeat as heard through clogged ears, evoking feelings of anxiety and drowsiness. Eventually, a lower, flat tone joins, the two dancing in strange intervals. The piece is droning drone, a lost and irritated orchestral work, the voice as filtered and elongated to fit into fluctuating, undulating space. Here, the voice, a referrer of being, stands alone in terms of its texture, but it’s piled together and lost within the other disembodied voices — the shells of the beings acting as replicants, pulling themselves and pressing into place among their aural cohorts. Strange, entangled tones crowd the stereo field; the tracks rise, compressed and delirious, a chimeric beast struggling with its footing. These pieces are monstrous and equally bastardized, silencing the listener’s thoughts within their collapsing architectural confines.

Within the entirety of Silencer, Younger appears to use feedback as a means of galvanizing and warping texture, collaging textures that have themselves been filtered through various devices, space pulling inward into a vacuous burst. The employment of these hopeless textures shows their use, how easily they can be lost in the thick of context. One can imagine the intonation and the subsequent shaping of the mouth, the sounds that are produced prior to words; when the culture shifts, those patterns change, the tones shift, the meaning displaced, and the word is now entangled and wrapped up its own former self, dragging itself to a new immanent meaning and death of its previous existence. Language here is prime, and it is thesis. These tracks are quite comparable to Demdike Stare’s Weight of Culture if it were combined with Morphosis’ Music For Vampyr work. In both, language in all of its structure and lucidity is disrupted by the narrative that runs through it, that trivializes it.

But while Weight of Culture kept the significant parts whole, stringing them through time and surrounding them with Suicide-esque tape hiss, and Music for Vampyr aimed to destroy all (except the pipe organ), Silencer stands as a mix between these two methods, launching the particles and destroying them within a narrative path, ultimately climaxing and dropping into the final track, the definitive statement on this notion of being galvanized by motion. “The Haze” sounds like a collection of clips, a rough pasting job of samples scooting along the groove of a floppy and circuitous bass line, voices, a crowd of them, chanting along, as high-register squeals circles above and across, the root being a fuzzy and sustained tone. Wolfgang Voigt’s most recent experiments with vocals and historization with Mohn come to mind, and I immediately begin to see that this collection hopes to hang out of the medium of music, to observe it from above and outside. I see Silencer as a definitive move toward a musical essay on the very nature of tonality and language in time, an epistemically constructed work that attempts to evaluate its own liminality.

Links: Helm - PAN/Alter