As sound fills the atmosphere of a neo-gothic cathedral in Austria reaching the ends of the spires, four guys create a masterpiece that simultaneously opens up the underworld in a vacuous descent.
Votivkirche is the new release from Cadlag on Pharmafabrik Recordings. One long track clocks in at 39:15. The recording was initially performed in 2014 at Votivkirche, Wien in Austria but not released until recently.
Votivkirche is an album that combines complex textures of drone, noise and ambient planes along with bits of treated bass and guitar. The album begins with some very ominous low-end drone textures weaving in and out. One forgets immediately that this immense sound was created by only 4 guys. It sounds like a mass of musicians or a band of good and evil spirits in an improvisational performance.
What makes things all the more intriguing, especially with this live recording is the fact that some of the layers within Votivkirche serve as foundation sound while others change directions, moving left-right, closer-farther and so on. This is a multi-dimensional and multi-directional noise/drone piece and a mesmerizing one at that. At around 7:00, layers appear like deep receding and rising waves or slow-motion avalanches and subsequently the piece then grows with intensity and depth; a depth that has rarely been reached – well below the subterranean. At moments like 10:00 and later on in the track, the feeling almost becomes overwhelming.
Minimalist static ribbons sometimes appear in the “top” of the atmosphere and whip around like birds flying through a broken stained-glass window of the cathedral. At around 12:00 the drones become almost harmonious with static-like cut-up noise (sound like glitched tape loops or a flurry of bats).
There are moments where the noise becomes louder than the drones and ambient textures and vice versa. It can be at times both beautiful and terrifying and often in the same breath. At around 18:00 the noise floods the gates with intense analog frequencies both ultra-low and high-end. It’s like being witness to the loudest electrocution in the vastest environment. By the 21 minute mark, creepy ambient planes appear at the top of the recording and descend giving a feeling of spectral angels. Low-end industrial sounding drone/noise sounds follow and give the listener the feeling of the war of the worlds or the battle of heaven vs. hell.
Some strange high frequencies appear around 25:00 with some buried repeated synths and ultra-vacuous drones combine and seem to create their own chords – a bit like Charlamange Palestine philosophically but in another medium. The layers of the drones seem to give off a feeling of changing pace around 30:00 giving the listener a feeling like being run over by the Four Horsemen. After that, discordant chords and ambient planes bond in deep, reverb-drenched drones to the end.
Toward the end of the recording there is definitely more of a prevalent feeling of rising and receding, perhaps like the parting of the clouds or the Red Sea waters; the evaporation or exorcism of ghosts of the worst kind. The track closes off abruptly with some incredible overwhelming static mixed with deep, constant drone.
You must have a blu-ray compatible disc player to view the film and listen to the recording. The imagery contains a focus on the guys at their table near the front of the cathedral. You’ll also see a variety of images and locations within the inside of the cathedral. Paying close attention, you’ll also notice some projections to the upper-right of the guys. At 22:45 you can see them up close-another pretty cool aspect of the visual presentation.
What Cadlag has managed to accomplish is really magical, due in part to the atmosphere in which this recording was performed. 4 guys in a small vicinity within a large environment creating something massive.
Votivkirche is easily the best album combining noise and drone I’ve ever heard. A cult-like potential born in a Catholic cathedral… That’s a bit like filling a room full of rising sound while creating a feeling of perpetual descent.
Votivkirche is available now on limited edition Blu-Ray disc and digital download. Please note that for this album to truly be appreciated in its glory, you must have the opportunity to listen to it without interruption with earphones.
Press Release: “Their influences and output ranges from gri(n)dcore to live experimental music and electronic manipulations of sound, using both analog and digital means to compress the drone oriented grid-landscapes and cacophonic palletes of industrial sonorousness, overall fuelled with spasmodic eruptions and convolutions of noise- paroxysma-mathema-machinations. Their visual installation implements TV noise and VHS textures, tightened together with the massive building of overdrived walls of sound.”