Monday 10 December 2018

Dark Music Review: Esoterika

Dark Music Review: Esoterika

Review by Casey Douglass


Esoterika is the most recent album from Humanfobia, a dark experimental music project from Chile. It consists of two members: Mist Spectra and Sábila Orbe, and is a project inspired by the supernatural, life after death and ghostly happenings. The music could fall into any number of categories, from dark ambient to witch house, but it’s dark, which is the main thing I tend to look for.

On Esoterika, Mist Spectra provides the haunting feminine vocals, her phasing shimmering words at times clear and bright, at others like a whisper from the grave, depending on the track. Sadly, I don’t speak Spanish, so I couldn’t understand what was being said, but the track titles gave enough of a hint for me to get the feel of what was happening.

This leads me to the first track that I clicked with: Gato Negro (black cat). A bouncy electronic tone sets a rhythm, and is soon joined by the sharp meow of a cat. It’s all a little discordant, which is part of the charm. The cat sounds range from the normal to the quite severe, and at times, the other sounds in the track seem to mimic the cat. By the end, I thoroughly had the cat’s meow on my brain, and came away really liking the track.

Next up is Phantasmal Doppelg▲nger. A fast beat is joined by a ghostly wavering voice, while a quieter rhythm sits in the background, carrying the track along. Beeps and bursts of electronic noise join things, a little like a modem handshake at a laser show, and the voice, when it fades and reappears, shimmers. The overall image this track created in my mind was what it would be like for a ghost or creature to come through an old CRT monitor, only to stare the user in the eyes as their double.

Ʃso₸erika is next, a punchy track with a mixture of both masculine and feminine vocals, along with various electronic tones and beats. The vocals seem to stutter in and out, phasing with the pulsing notes. It almost sounded a little like a chip-tune song to me at around the midpoint, something from an old NES video game corrupted by dark influences maybe? A fun track though, either way.

MΛgic Spells of Doom is the final track I wanted to talk about individually. Fuzzy electro noises and vocals from Mist Spectra echo and squelch into a soundscape that's ripe with buzzing activity. There is also a pleasing muffled effect, like the digitized sounds are happening underwater. Later there are what could be the sounds of a radio sweeping through frequencies, maybe the spell-caster of the title tapping into different levels of existence?

All of the tracks on Esoterika are haunting in their own way, the various electronic sounds, samples and tones creating a dark digital space in which technology and the supernatural just might be meeting and bashing out a few obscene offspring. I’m not used to listening to the kind of electronic beats that Esoterika provides, but the dark samples and tone held this dark ambient fan’s interest throughout. What’s more, Esoterika is a free download from the Humanfobia Bandcamp page. You can visit that page by clicking here if you’d like to find out more. You might also like to check out Phantasmal Doppelg▲nger below:

Album Title: Esoterika
Album Artist: Humanfobia
Released: 8 Oct 2018