Genre: Ambient / Soundscape
01 Old York (15:03)
02 La Suspension Éthéréenne (5:20)
03 A Long Walk (7:12)
04 Attaining Pt. 1 (10:27)
05 Zero-Sum (3:47)
06 Attaining Pt. 2 (3:39)
In the experimental electronica field soundtracks for imaginary films
are not that unusual. Soundtracks for imaginary /cities/, however, are
somewhat rarer. Ulver's magnificent "Perdition City" is one of the few
examples I can think of but The Missing Ensemble (a trio comprised of
Daniel De Los Santos, John Sellekaers and Mathias Delplanque) have now
added "Zeropolis", their second release, to the list.
Whereas "Perdition City" appears to be a vibrant place, a modern-day
Faerie, "Zeropolis" is an empty graveyard of a city. Opening track "Old
York" sounds like the whirring, incessant machinery of an underground
car-park; grinding gears and hissing hydraulics. The promotional
material cites George Romero as a "silent architect" and this certainly
sounds like the introduction to a zombie film; doors flap ominously and
streets are strewn with the hastily abandoned detritus of modern life as
the camera pans past silently.
From the silent streets, "La Suspension Éthéréenne" takes us into an
office building where fluorescent lights crackle insanely and
photocopiers spark into erratic life. "A Long Walk" continues this with
jerking, air-conditioner drones and the plink, plink of dripping water.
A sinister air is introduced with this duo of tracks as crescendo-ed
throbs are cut off like slamming doors and a low, sub-tone of
vocalization creeps into the mix.
"Attaining Pt. 1" adds a level of discordance that seems incongruent
after the initial, blended tracks but it does invoke a sense of dying
radio transmissions that leads into the misfiring electronics and
warping bass-lines of "Zero-Sum" then the long, slow decay of "Attaining
If "Zeropolis" had continued down the same stark streets of its opening
two tracks then this would have been an excellent record. As it stands,
the move from layered sounds which evoke a disturbingly cold, yet
weirdly familiar, environment to a more synthetic use of electronics
means that the entirety loses power. It comes back in the end strains of
"Attaining Pt. 2" where wind whistles hollowly through plastic piping
but its brother-track is overly lengthy and leaves the middle of the
album lacking which is a shame as the initial build-up of over-arching
threat is immense.
A more layered and increasingly sinister approach to the rest of the
album would've made this a superb addition to the "urban soundtrack"
genre but, as it stands, "Perdition City" remains the capital.