System Morgue - Feu

System Morgue
"Feu"

CD (ltd. 100)
ZHBD-04


1. Gardien de la Porte des Ténèbres
2. Miroir du Vide
3. Moulin des Étoiles
4. Tranquille
5. Octobre

total length: 45:08
release date: July 25, 2014
price: €10

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"Feu" is the first CD of the Moscow-based project System Morgue which has been active since 2006 and released one cassette "Hekatombaion" (2010, Heliophagia), as well as plenty of web-releases. In its early period the project relied on aggressive and pushing sound in vein of harsh noise and power electronics, but later changed to milder sonorities and finally came to the now traditional form of guitar drone ambient.

Using only guitar and bass as sound sources as well as a chain of effects, the man behind this project - Peter L. - has created five compositions the mood of which varies from uneasy, slightly distorted soundscapes to gentle enshrouding harmonics. The lingering drone of vibrating strings, rare accents of psychedelic chords, slow semi-melodic loops - everything that a real connoisseur of dark meditative music needs. The album is inspired by the literary works of Ilya Masodov and Charles Baudelaire.

Sound mastering done by Sergey Uak-Kib (Kshatriy | http://kshatriy.pro), artwork of the 4-panel digipak - by Kol Belov (http://kollaps.ru).



Reviews

Odd: I briefly glanced at the cover of the CD by System Morgue, noted the fact that some Peter L played guitar and bass, but I didn't register it well enough, so after a while of playing this and thinking what to write - notes included 'dark', 'drones', 'think Malignant Records' - I returned to the screen to pen that down, and then I saw that guitar and bass reference again. By then I have landed at the final track of this CD, 'Octobre', which is indeed a bit like what you would expect of guitar and bass (and a bit of voice also); a sort of post-punk piece, if you will. In the other four pieces this is not really the case. Here we find long, sustaining, stringed sounds, of ringing and singing guitar sounds captured in a labyrinth (no beginning, no end) of electronics. In 'Moulin Des Etoiles' the bass, coupled with a delay pedal, can be recognized, but here it swings like an endless pendulum of repeating sounds. All of this is obviously dark and melancholic. Ambient and industrial, but also psychedelic; I can imagine a mind-altering state if one is in the right mode, or under the influence of some drugs of some kind. Very nice music altogether but also nothing much news under the drone sun.

The brilliant cover art hides a remarkable surprise. “Feu” is the new album of System Morgue, who moves from harsh noise into a more subtle, yet equally intense drone generator. System Morgue lets out warm, hypnotizing waves of sound that find their way into the unstable psyche. Sometimes it is done by the knife seen on the cover, as System Morgue raises the currents into piercing, horrifying sounds, and sometimes it is done by the gentle turn of a key, with more comforting ambient. Slow pulses, like those on the track “Gardien de la Porte des Tenebres”, intensify the tension created by the very precise sonic equilibrium, walking a straight line between utter despair and bittersweet nostalgia. This spiritual journey is an interesting find in a (brilliant! I have already said it!) packaging and a very satisfying label.

There's curious piece of artwork adhered to the debut album from this Russian one-man-drone-band, with stylized arms slashing at each other with knives, keys, and barbed knuckles, exposing blood, muscle, bone, and tendon with cartoonish detachment of the human body. This sort of imagery would seem suitable for The Ex in terms of allegorical punk ideology about the failures of war and capitalism; but no, it ain't punk found within, but rather an all-encompassing gloom that lurks through bowed, looped, and layered bass guitar. Peter L. is the Muskovite protagonist for System Morgue. He's one who can conjure a somber, wintery ambience like the best of any of black metal magician, and the extreme droned-out minimalism is chock full of static buzz, sacred/profane intonations, and indeterminant velocity offering graceful crescendos of existential numbness. These pieces are ground upon variable bass riffs mostly bowed but occasionally picked with piles of effects and looping techniques that create an entire symphony of deeply ominous tones and pregnant sound suspension. The most obvious references would be Nadja and Maeror Tri in terms of density and darkness, with an equally impressive ability to shape subtle melodies that ripple through the album. The drone-heavy Russian industrialists have been producing some very high caliber work in recent years, and System Morgue is another very impressive project.

Posthumous Remorse

"Ah, when thou shalt slumber, my darkling love,
Beneath a black marble-made statuette,
And when thou'lt have nought for thy house or alcove,
But a cavernous den and a damp oubliette.

When the tomb-stone, oppressing thy timorous breast,
And thy hips drooping sweetly with listless decay,
The pulse and desires of mine heart shall arrest,
And thy feet from pursuing their adventurous way,

Then the grave, that dark friend of my limitless dreams
(For the grave ever readeth the poet aright),
Amid those long nights, which no slumber redeems.

'Twill query "What use to thee, incomplete spright
That thou ne'er hast unfathomed the tears of the dead"?
Then the worms will gnaw deep at thy body, like Dread."

Charles Pierre Baudelaire

I have to confess. My life flows under the sign of a constant hunt after new musical experiences. Nothing can stop me from discovering new boundaries through the art of music. However, this hunger cannot be separated from other conceptual arts as a part of cultural heritage where poetry is one of the most important milestones that has an enormous influence on the human race. I do love poetry, especially the one that can be easily reflected in music that I love as well. That's why Symbolism as an ultimate aesthetics and fundamental aspect is important for a highly abstractive genre such as dark ambient. The new album of Russian based resident System Morgue echoes the same view when choosing the poetry of Charles Pierre Baudelaire as its central leitmotif. This highly acclaimed poet is indeed considered to be a founding father of this art movement against naturalism and realism, anti-idealistic styles which were attempts to represent reality in its gritty particularity, and to elevate the humble and the ordinary over the ideal. Symbolism was a reaction in favor of spirituality, the imagination, and dreams.

Thus, Baudelaire's most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century. Those visions influenced many followers during last two centuries, and it goes without saying that it was only a matter of time when some dark ambient artist turns his attention to this theme. "Feu" was created under the deep impression from "The Flowers of Evil" that is why it is really important to keep in mind the images of poetry to dive into the music as much as possible.

The music of this album is completely built from heavy bricks of droning ambiance generated from guitars. An opening track "Garden De la Porte des Tenebres" presents heavy walls of bass with a slowly drifting melody on top of the structure which are quite typical for drone ambient genre. Soft splashes of magnetic echoes join leisurely dynamics of imaginary movement by the end of this composition. Keeping the obscure atmosphere alive, "Miroir du Vide" (Mirror Vacuum) enlivens the hypnotic tones with some guitar vibrations and tragic melody. The fluids of constant sound envelope a brittle shell of the listener's soul creating quite meditative and even spiritual connection to the music.

The special techniques used in Symbolism art come to allow greater room for "fluidity" of images, to evoke them in associative memory instead of just describing those images of actions or events. Therefore, the power in droning pulsation of "Moulin des Etoiles" can definitely fortify the faith in ability of music to carry messages of symbolic value. Meanwhile, "Tranquille" changes the mood a little bit to become more static and truly hypnotic allowing the listener to embark on the journey through self in search of some impossible satisfaction that forever eludes the traveler. The atmosphere transforms into a really tragic sound with the last composition "Octobre" while guitar passages become a dominating force that drives the music to its logical conclusion and I cannot stress enough how crucial the element of the background voice reading one of the poems of Baudelaire (I assume) during this specific track.

One of the milestones that determined Symbolism in the world of art is considering this genre as a contemplative refuge from the world of strife and will. Desire for an artistic refuge, exploitation of themes of mysticism and otherworldliness help System Morgue to create a very special journey lasting forty five minutes. I feel that the music of this Russian resident is convincing enough even without inventing the wheel, proving the fact that usage of the right combinations of minimalistic sounds can be successful in describing really complex themes. Another quality product from Zhelezobeton label during 2014.

There's curious piece of artwork adhered to the debut album from this Russian one-man-drone-band, with stylized arms slashing at each other with knives, keys, and barbed knuckles, exposing blood, muscle, bone, and tendon with cartoonish detachment of the human body. This sort of imagery would seem suitable for The Ex in terms of allegorical punk ideology about the failures of war and capitalism; but no, it ain't punk found within, but rather an all-encompassing gloom that lurks through bowed, looped, and layered bass guitar. Peter L. is the Muskovite protagonist for System Morgue. He's one who can conjure a somber, wintery ambience like the best of any of black metal magician, and the extreme droned-out minimalism is chock full of static buzz, sacred/profane intonations, and indeterminant velocity offering graceful crescendos of existential numbness. These pieces are ground upon variable bass riffs mostly bowed but occasionally picked with piles of effects and looping techniques that create an entire symphony of deeply ominous tones and pregnant sound suspension. The most obvious references would be Nadja and Maeror Tri in terms of density and darkness, with an equally impressive ability to shape subtle melodies that ripple through the album. The drone-heavy Russian industrialists have been producing some very high caliber work in recent years, and System Morgue is another very impressive project.

Andrew DNS, Brutal Resonance.

I had not heard of this Moscow-based artist, but looking at the over art and the black metal logo, I expected something much more abrasive, at least noisier. But that's not what you get with System Morgue. The press release states that 'In its early period the project relied on aggressive and pushing sound in vein of harsh noise and power electronics, but later changed to milder sonorities and finally came to the now traditional form of guitar drone ambient.' Evidently, this is all created with guitar, bass, and effects. The music itself was really peaceful, deep drone, but it kept shifting enough to keep it interesting. At times there would be some moments of voice (Octobre), or guitar that is merely plucked to reveal itself (Moulin des Гtoiles), but overall this is something that you can put on and just let everything fade away. Nicely done. This album weighs in at around 45 minutes and is limited to 100 copies.

eskaton, Chain D.L.K.

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