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Reviews
TraumaSutra - Self-titled
Wednesday, July 01 2009 @ 03:00 AM PDT
Contributed by: Sage

Self-titled

Artist: TraumaSutra Belgium

Title: Self-titled

Label: Silken Tofu Belgium

Genre:  Dark Ambient / Ritual Ambient / Noise

01 Untitled (35:57)
02 Untitled (7:35)

This ride is incredibly dense.  Yes, we're taken on a journey that is suggested to be drug-induced by the creator himself, Peter de Koning, but even with the absence of the drug of choice, we're still led into a thick conception of time and sound.  TraumaSutra's first installment alludes to the fact that there will be future releases in similar vein to this one, as the author notes that this is simply a “chapter”.  Rumbles and purling vibrations lure the listener in gently, tempted by scrapings and a minimal tribal drum loop.  Whether we're being led to one of many perceived heavens or our worst imagined hell is of no consequence, because we'll be led down this path regardless of what end.

As we're led around the corner we're subjected to a burgeoning fuzz pulse, created alongside the gentle scraping of chains and glass on the cold wet cement ground.  A bell tolls several times on opposite ends of the corridor as we pass and suddenly our surroundings are made all too familiar.  This is our heaven, but on the bleakest and darkest path imaginable.  Pain, pleasure, its all the same here.  TraumaSutra, as the name eludes to, is not a performance rite, but rather a journey that we're led on through bloody floors and dimly lit rooms.  Humans, locked to chairs and broken, always mentally before physically.  Madness swarms in with the rush of spherical squealing and pulsating movement from below as if a rush of beetles has infested the barrier.  Even after they're gone, though, the squealing continues with the sound of falling water and distant flanging electronics.  We're confronted by the bleak reminder of what little innocence we had by the droning slap of two notes on a bell/xylophone set before the squeal once again consumed the aural attention.

And this is when it breaks.  Lured to darkness for punishments known only to you and the exocutioner.  Its not short, its long, painful, sometimes incredibly jagged.  We're led into a false sense of security through seemingly endless minutes of gentle drone with little action only to be confronted by raw noise far exceeding the volume swell of any other on this release.  We begin to hear voices in the distance, a sure sign that we've slipped into that state of insanity where you can no longer feel the skin being pulled off the muscle, blood oozing down what's left of our tattered body.  There is something ritual here, something more spiritual than meets the eye.  A coincidence that was never to be seen, and perhaps that is the beauty of dark ambient.  Our visions can be expressed and told in all the horror and detail that the music allows, but it is also confined to that spectrum. 

Even more ritual is the second track, a remix of sounds found in the first by Crank Sturgeon, who himself is a veteran of noise and musique concrete, and has been featured on labels from RRRecords to Psychform, from Cryptic Carousel to Psychform. If you can't get into this one, then noise probably really isn't your thing to begin with.  TraumaSutra is legitimately frightening and it continues to build with multiple listens. 

Past this, and perhaps even more interesting than the two tracks here themselves, is the inclusion of a multimedia file including an abstract 16 minute film by “Filip de Koning” entitled Paso a Paso.  A film with no dialogue so bizarre that even the great David Lynch may be made uncomfortably proud of.  It appears to be a walk about the streets of Belgium at night when everyone else is at home asleep, around dark tunnels and graffiti covered walls, train tracks, and fenced areas.  Once in a while you'll see a dark figure who won't be given any identity.  Dolls are randomly placed throughout the film too, as well as what appears to be bodies, or could simply be hobos.  Its the human factor without any presence of humans that makes this film so bizarrely surreal and frightening.  There is no story being told, but there are objects, such as a bike with spinning tires on its side, with no child around for the viewer to assume ownership to.  Complete lack of seemingly living individuals, replaced only with shadows, fallen bodies, and garbage bags whose contents remain unknown.  Then there is a walk around an amusement park past the train tracks, which reminds anyone familiar with gaming culture of Silent Hill rather immediately, only since this is pretty authentic, its more frightening.  One of the most legitimately grim and menacing points of the film is when the figure holding the camera enters what appears to be a condemned / abandoned house.  The music that accompanies starts throwing some HEAVY atmosphere and monstrous noises into the mix and as he finally comes to a bathroom and the sounds reach their climax, he turns and runs out the door like his life is on the line.  Its surprisingly effective.  This film is completely full of demonic influences, worst nightmares, and bad trips of the worst kind.  I won't spoil the ending for you, but it really is an interesting flick.  Even if you're not a fan of noise, the purchase is worth the film included.  An excellent release, all-around.

     



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