Friday 18 December 2020

Dark Ambient Review: Outre'

Dark Ambient Review: Outre'

Review by Casey Douglass


When watching The Terminator film, a younger Casey found one of the most ominous and atmospheric scenes to be the caterpillar-tracked robot tank grinding its way over bleached human skulls. Even today, I think anything that mixes mechanisation and fleshy biology can be more than a little unnerving. Cut The Light’s upcoming dark ambient album Outre' is something that very much set my mind down this path again, and even with the extra years of horror-film fandom under my belt, it managed to reach “Young Casey” again in a similar way.

Outre' is an album that incorporates the various sounds of machinery, such as clanking and humming, alongside the more electronic aspects of technology, such as tortured speakers squeaking or crackling feedback interference. As I’m sure you’ll likely guess at this point, this is not a smooth, relaxing listening experience, but a harsh, ominous and at times jarring one. This isn’t the white-noise of a docile conveyor belt carrying tins of dog food, but a hell machine syphoning soul-juice from the victims strung up over its reclamation funnel.

The Flesh Cascades is a track the illustrates this feeling oh so nicely. Its soundscape feels metallic, with a reverberating bassy impact near the start, and low vibrations and a power-building hum soon joining it. The soundscape changes after awhile, to one that seems dominated by a sound that put me in mind of a whirring circular saw. This is when the dripping begins, a wet, fleshy sound, that when married to the saw-like sound, led me to think that this might be what some kind of automated human-harvesting abattoir might sound like. I don’t think I heard any screams, so I guess the victims at the least, are already dead? Silver linings and all that.

One of my favourite tracks is Xenobiotic. I think this is one of the most ominous, threatening tracks I’ve listened to for some time. It opens with a blaring, vibrating metallic tone. A mechanical drone and a pulsing bass note join the throng. The pulsing bass-note lends the soundscape the “standing outside a nightclub” feeling, where you can hear the beat but no real detail of the music inside. This led me to think that this track might be about a strange robotic, half-alien creature, lurking in the dark alley nearby. There are even breathing-like hisses and sighs to add to this impression. Maybe it’s waiting for someone to be foolish enough to walk down that alley...

Outreworld is another fine example of the kind of mechanical horror that this album contains. This track put me in mind of a kind of steampunk Jurassic Park. It features a nice variety of sounds, from resonating electronic tones to quiet static, and what might be the sound of something being dragged along the floor. The stars of the soundscape for me were the electronic roars. There is something bestial about this track, and all the pulsing, squeaking metal led me to think of some kind of theme-park where monstrous robotic hybrids wander their enclosures. Maybe the track title brought Jurassic World to mind, and my thoughts ran with it, but regardless, it’s another engrossing track to listen to.

I usually end my reviews with a final paragraph that wraps things up in a way that pleases me, but today I think that the previous ones have already described those things that I wanted to convey. I think you will know if Outre' will be your kind of dark ambient album, and even if it’s not, dip in to a couple of its tracks on its Bandcamp page just to get a taste. It’s well worth the consideration, and I really like it.

Visit the Outre' page on Bandcamp for more information. You can also watch the teaser video below:

I was given a review copy of this album.

Album Title: Outre'

Album Artist: Cut The Light

Label: Black Mara

Released: 14 Jan 2021