Ten Questions with Nicolay

Apricot Rail
Darcy James Argue
Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi
Félicia Atkinson
Atom TM
Black Jazz Consortium
Borghi and Teager
Kate Carr
Jace Clayton
Nicholas Cords
Cosmin TRG
Benjamin Damage
T. Dimuzio / Voice of Eye
Field Rotation
Stefan Goldmann
Good Luck Mr. Gorsky
Darren Harper
Chihei Hatakeyama
Jerusalem In My Heart
Marsen Jules
Philippe Lamy
Mary Lattimore
Linear Bells
Jay-Dea López
Andrew McPherson
Markus Mehr
Fabio Orsi & pimmon
Simian Mobile Disco
Colin Stetson
The Third Man
Simon Whetham

Compilations / Mixes
Art Department
Balance presents jozif
+FE Music: The Reworks
Ruede Hagelstein
Inscriptions Vol. 2
Rebel Rave 3
Your Victorian Breasts

EPs / Cassettes / Singles
Broken Chip
City of Satellites
Yann Novak
Simon Whetham

Oneirogen: Kiasma
Denovali Records

With Kiasma, the New York-based composer Mario Diaz de Leon brings an interesting twist to his Oneirogen project by amping up the metal elements included on his debut album Hypnos. In fact, the fifty-minute set takes no time at all in announcing that move when the full six minutes of the opening cut “Numina” are dominated by guitar distortion, shuddering six-string textures, and an overall death metal-styled sense of foreboding, desolation, and doom.

But Kiasma is far from one-dimensional, and that's what makes it interesting. The second track, “Pathogen,” while featuring no shortage of molten guitar textures, counterbalances its metal leanings with sophisticated soundscape design of dark ambient character. Put simply, Oneirogen wisely balances the metal and electronic sides in a manner seldom attempted, and the effect proves to be arresting, especially when drums are wholly eschewed. The album is often epic and grandiose in tone, never more so than during pieces of intensity so great they verge on harrowing, such as “Mutilation” and the album's centerpiece, “Katabasis,” which finds Oneirogen's lethal chords lurching like some diseased monstrosity across blasted ruins for fourteen doom-drenched minutes. At album's end, “Mortisomnia” changes things up by adding Mario Diaz de Leon's vocal growl to the tune's guitars-and-synths landscape.

Yes, Kiasma is heavy, of that there's no doubt, but it's also refreshingly different from the norm. It's rare indeed to hear someone, as Oneirogen does, using multi-layered guitar shredding to craft nightmarish dark ambient set-pieces. Doom-laden material never sounded as musical as it does here.

April 2013