Background/Info: Ukrainian artist Andrzej Gladuszewski is releasing his work under the Monocube moniker. His new album has been released in collaboration with American label Malignant Records (which also released his previous work “The Rituals”) and Canadian label Cyclic Law.
Content: “Substratum” moves on where “The Rituals” left off. The compositions became darker and more elaborate. Monstrous, humming sound treatments and low, vibrating sound waves lead the listener into the ultimate state of terror. The tracks have been meticulously built up, moving crescendo to some freaky climaxes. Antti Litmanen (Arktau Eos) and Frederic Arbour (Visions + Cyclic Law owner) contributed each to one track.
+ + + : There’s a serious evolution in sound and global production work. I was seriously impressed by the overwhelming, monstrous sound treatments resulting from the analogue gear used to accomplish this work. “Opaque” is one of these tracks, which according to me comes close to perfection. Another track I have to mention is “Prima Materia”. It doesn’t only sound as the highest degree of terror-music, but it features brilliant sound treatments featuring icy crashes and vibrating sequences. The sound also has a real strong visual appeal. The artwork is a bonus to this production.
– – – : Next to exceptional cuts like “Opaque” and “Prima Materia” some of the other tracks left don’t bring a similar magic, which doesn’t mean that they’re unaccomplished.
Conclusion: If you like great dark-ambient music, “Substratum” is an album you have to discover. I’m not surprised it has been released as a collaboration between two leading labels in the genre.
Best songs: “Opaque”, “Prima Materia”, “Luft”, “Sehnsucht”.