The latest in a clutch of new offerings from purveyors of all things dark and esoteric, Cold Spring, one of the UK’s most prominent and consistent “dark” labels, and whose roster of artists is now as diverse as it is extreme.Sleep Research Facility follow up their Cold Spring debut, “Nostromo” introducing a wider pallette of sound , based on polar co-ordinates, and dripping in chilling atmospherics.

In a genre constantly struggling to define and re-invent itself, often tripping over conceptual hurdles in an attempt at originality, many “dark” ambient artists inhabit familiar territory, trawling out rehashed sonic concepts based upon murderers, deep space phenomena, the occult etc, etc, to the point of becoming a tiresome cliché, and many have become almost laughable caricatures of earlier and more successful predecessors.

Sleep Research Facility have neatly side-stepped some of these conceptual pitfalls in both the theme, and choice of sounds used on Deep Frieze. Drawing inspiration from the bleak and remote Antarctic regions, Deep Frieze slowly unfurls, moving from the sound of a sub-glacial wind storm on 79o S 83oW, gradually evolving and building on subsequent tracks, occasionally perforated by the warm glow of harmonics, as tone clusters break through the icy carapace, carried on rich resonant bass dronescapes. Here and there the relief of hearing a barely audible voice permeates the soundscape, albeit the faintest whisper of humanity, a crackling radio weather report maybe, or a message lost to the frozen tundra.

To classify this album as being entirely dark is something of a misnomer, as much of what appears here is bathed in light and dynamic range, utilising sound from across the frequency spectrum, yet still achieving that sense of sparseness and isolation prevalent in this sinister and extreme polar environment. SRF use these dynamics to great effect, particularly when anything remotely tonal drops away, leaving the listener suspended in an eerie half silence, with little or no notable audible stimuli, there is a sense of feeling lost, the feeling of utter desolation that must confront those brave few who have ventured into this inhospitable territory, a stark, inhuman region that has claimed many lives, broken many men, and whose darkest secrets still remain silent, encapsulated in its icy depths. This is deeply immersive sonic escapism of the very highest order..absolutely essential.



About whiteline1

WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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