Wormwood and Flame by Michał Turowski

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Michał Turowski | Wormwood and Flame
Mozdok/Positive Regression (CDR/DL)

From a Warsaw imprint (Gazawat) and sound artist Michał Turowski comes something new from this relatively new artist who’s been putting out various tapes and small editions over the past four years, many collaborations. Even though this may fall under the sub-genre of ‘dark ambient’ it seems to distance itself with a dip into the industrial and “bleak soundscapes..through deserted waste lands“. Better described, at least on 26th April 1986 as a long walk into a mysterious wormhole.

Set to be released on the anniversary of the crushing events at Chernobyl, this provides a nod to our history as a humanity capable of error, and ample symbolism of an underlying sinister fabric that offers little recourse, and no sentimentality:

For the attention of the residents of Pripyat! The City Council informs you that due to the accident at Chernobyl Power Station in the city of Pripyat the radioactive conditions in the vicinity are deteriorating. The Communist Party, its officials and the armed forces are taking necessary steps to combat this. Nevertheless, with the view to keep people as safe and healthy as possible, the children being top priority, we need to temporarily evacuate the citizens in the nearest towns of Kiev region. For these reasons, starting from 27 April 1986 2 pm each apartment block will be able to have a bus at its disposal, supervised by the police and the city officials. It is highly advisable to take your documents, some vital personal belongings and a certain amount of food, just in case, with you. The senior executives of public and industrial facilities of the city has decided on the list of employees needed to stay in Pripyat to maintain these facilities in a good working order. All the houses will be guarded by the police during the evacuation period. Comrades, leaving your residences temporarily please make sure you have turned off the lights, electrical equipment and water and shut the windows. Please keep calm and orderly in the process of this short-term evacuation.

The setting is dank, frazzled and metallic/maladjusted in terms of its generation of noise. Though Turowski‘s noise is not an assault by any means, instead his sound kind of churns and gnaws in an organic and cyclical pattern. In fact, on tracks like Sarcophagus, aside from a rough rippling effect it’s rather ambient whitenoise not unlike reverb circles from a stones throw upon the edge of a lake. The propeller-like grinding on Red Forest is quite hypnotic. And the electronic bleeping is offset nicely by the granular foraging going on via The Woodpecker. The dis/guise of the recording is one that shows itself and retreats, making for a bit of a thriller gradually unfolding.

These tracks fluidly curl into one another and pieces like Polissya Hotel are memorable for its calming and narcotic glaze. Elsewhere he embellishes with glitch, clack and jitter to an elongated drone that repeats like a breath cycle. A sonic effect that eludes categorization but feels full and drained simultaneously. Samosely feels like an inescapable loop just staring out an attic window of a haunted house into an endless cemetery.  It’s that visually stimulating, and stasis-inducing. The chillingly titled Life After People is the murky conclusion. Fueled by bass lows and grainy cracks in the structure, here we have a slow disintegration of this complex tableaux of ideas. Wormwood and Flame is like a strange hiccup in time, irradiated in low-end eidolic reverb worth multiple spins.

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