VARIOUS ARTISTS: ...IN THE CRYSTAL CAGE
CD: Ikonen Media 02 [2005]


Golgotha: Crystal Cage
Apoptose: Null
Troum: S'engourdir
Galerie Schallschutz: Deadly Orgone Radiation
Herbst9: Artefakte
Inade: The Quiet Room (Excerpt)
First Law: << Lost In Transmission >>
Shining Vril: Perpetual Stranger
Drape Excrement: Gnosticism
Anenzephalia: Idyll
Tho-So-Aa: Sister Mine
Naevus: Torn Wheat Leaked
Pilori: Jour De Silence
Golgotha: Outro

Scratch cards are big business. I’ve watched gob smacked in a newsagent as some spazz has bought a bundle of 40 of the fuckers and stood there fervently rubbing each with a coin before discarding them into a neat pile onto the floor. I think he managed to get £6.00 back for his heady investment. Sucker. Buying a compilation is just as much a lottery. Success or failure, win or lose, is dependant upon so many different variables. If the acts are unknown then the chances of disappointment are high. If the acts are well known but the music recycled debris from the studio floor then the odds for are still stacked pretty high towards regrets at splashing the cash on it. On the other hand if there’s a mixture of new / old acts and the music ties in with a concept then you may…just may…be a lucky sod and have something worth keeping for posterity.

‘…in the Crystal Cage’, subtitled ‘A collection of Isolationist Soundscapes for the Inner Cinema’, is the equivalent of getting all 6 balls in the weekly lottery draw. An unexpected jackpot of riches. The artists or groups involved in this recording are a mixture of the fairly new…Pilori, Galerie Schallschutz, & Golgatha…and the well known and respected…Apoptose, Troum, Herbst9, Inade, First Law, Shining Viril, Drape Excrement, Anenzephalia, Tho-So-Aa and Naevus. As you can see this is a veritable ‘who’s who’ of talented musicians working predominately within the dark ambient genre with a couple of acts in the neo-folk tradition.

It should come as no surprise then that the majority of these soundscapes fall headlong into ambient areas. Rich deep pulsing black ambience, in as many different flavours, with flourishes of experimental leanings when done expertly is one of the greatest listening experiences imaginable. Picking out a favourite within this elite diversity of acts within the 14 tracks of the CD, with Golgatha contributing the opening and closing pieces of music, is nigh on impossible. Each have contributed a track, apart from Golgatha, worthy of their name and reputation…even Naevus, who I’m not particularly fond of, have a song which fits neatly into this recordings ethics. Something that pleasantly surprised the hell out of me. Even more surprising was the Pilori track which is sickly sweet yet beautifully mesmerising and seriously worth the price of the CD alone. Although seeming out of place after all the desolation and despair of the previous acts their track acts as a cathartic release.

As compilations go ‘…in the Crystal Cage’ is a triumph for all concerned. When was the last time you heard a compilation where there wasn’t at least one duff track to be skipped over whenever you played it? Thought as much. You’ll not find one track on this CD you’ll want to miss. The running order is perfectly balanced and compliments each of the contributing acts pieces of music. Totally electrifying. One day this compilation will be talked about in hushed and revered tones. Don’t miss out on it. Be lucky.

ANM

[Ikonen Media]

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