Saturday 28 March 2015

Dark Music Review – Shortwave

Dark Music Review – Shortwave

Written By Casey Douglass

Anything to do with hidden messages and secret codes usually grabs my interest. When that interest mingles with one of my favourite music genres, the effect is more than doubled! Shortwave, a dark ambient album from Metadronos & Ager Sonus has caused one such marrying. The album description:
For decades, all over the world, people have been trying to transport information and vital data over shortwave-radio-frequencies, unbeknownst to the general public. Those unknown parties used a multitude of encryption systems to their advantage. This album invites you to get a feeling for the mystery of... shortwave transmissions.
One thing that I really really like about Shortwave is the device of using spoken numbers throughout various portions of the music. Numbers can be ‘beaty’ things at the best of times, but the effect of a voice monotonously reading numbers, or repeating one a few times before moving onto the next, creates a very nice rhythm that manages to mingle with the dark drones and beeping sounds in a very pleasing way. Shortwave, the track, is a prime example of this.

Another track that I particularly liked was Glowlamp Machine. This track makes great use of strange yet child-like melodies, yet they jostle uncomfortably with strong tones and the repetitive intoning of numbers again. The swelling sounds and sweeping droning created an image for me of a boffin in his or her lab, code running down green LED fed computer screens. If you have ever seen the film Pi, you might know what I mean. If you haven’t, seek it out!

Wireless Intercept Station is also a great track. More orchestral in nature and featuring ominous bellchimes and strings like unimpressed bees. Then the distorted and drained-of-life voice of a man begins to speak. A great track.

What you get with Shortwave is a dark ambient album that stays on theme the whole way through, yet each track is varied enough and different enough to keep giving the repeated theme in fresh ways to your ears each time. I give Shortwave 4.5/5. It used numbers in a way I’d not heard before and every time I listened to it, this fact re-impressed me over and over.

Head over to the Shortwave Bandcamp page here for more info.

I was given a free copy of the album to review.

Album Title: Shortwave
Artist: Metadronos & Ager Sonus
Released : 6th February 2015