Flint Glass: Circumsounds
Tympanik Audio/Brume Records

The perfect gift for the ravenous dark electronic ambient lover in the family (the kind of genre where artist names like Suicide Inside and HIV+ aren't uncommon), Circumsounds spreads its diseased tentacles across seventy-two minutes of Flint Glass remixes. Originals by the likes of Polygon, Sci Fi Industries, Displacer, Disharmony, Tzolk'in, and OTX get apocalyptic makeovers at the hands of Brume Records head Gwenn Trémorin. In truth, without knowing any better, I might have guessed the album to be the compositional work of a single artist rather than the product of fifteen different ones; without having the originals available to compare, I can only guess as to whether that's due to the dominating imprint left by Flint Glass or that the remixed artists, all operating in the same general area, produce work that's similar-sounding. Many of the tracks are powered by breakbeat ferocity or techno-funk throb of a particularly nightmarish vintage (Zonk't's “Air Field,” Shizuka's “Les Esprits,” Prospero's “Fury of the Tempest,” Suicide Inside's “Angel”) but there are occasional slight exceptions to the rule, and no one can accuse Eretsua of lacking a sense of humour, if the throbbing slice of crushing head-nod constituting “Travelling Light” counts for anything. Thermidor's “Plenum Aquae” could be the soundtrack for a ritualized beheading session while, making one of the strongest impressions, Empusae's “Beauty of Decay” is a two-stage affair, with the first part a creaking horrorscape and the second a guillotine slab of banging funk. All of which makes Circumsounds a pretty thorough overview of the style for those with nerves strong enough to withstand it, and there's enough tolling bells, clanks, moaning choirs, and tribal rhythmning to keep devotees of the harrowing genre happy for at least a little while.

September 2008