Post Scriptvm | Variola Vera
Tesco Organisation (LP/DL)
Since the late 80’s Tesco Organisation has been releasing music with an edge. This is the first time I’ve seen one of their releases hit my desk, this by Post Scriptvm, the Russian-American act that has been at it since the late 90s. This is their eleventh full-length recording (among others). Their evocative sound is a blend of industrial, drone, and dark ambient. Variola Vera is stocked with atmosphere, fluid forms, and bathed in a space that plays on the extended synapses. It’s title derived from the outbreak of smallpox in socialist Yugoslavia (ala the 70’s) and the treads are bare within certain portions of the electro-acoustics and distorted transmissions (ceremonial sermons and speeches).
The tension of the record recalls a haunting anamnesis, transporting me back to some of the slower-formed works of Ministry, Meat Beat Manifesto, Nine Inch Nails and other classic underground cadences – although less glossy, and far more of a visceral underground feel overall. There’s some metallic tinkering, tiny bleeps and a dank aura. The listener is transported to a chamber where a propaganda film plays, and one cannot bat their lashes a moment at what you witness. Just what that is remains a mystery.
The way effects are deployed is extremely precise producing a mood that is off, ill-at-ease. And that’s a good thing, offering a cinematic vision, and the wheels are turning, and churning. The hallowed bells and halls are somewhat haunted and the refined bits of clang and echo. It’s all quite a surreal vision that all observers will find as lush as it is incredibly beguiling. The anamorphic voices that drive aspects of Variola Vera return from time to time running the gamut from whispers, to mumurs to disturbed spirits. What I really appreciate is how reigned in this is, in that you can imagine its tendencies, its sense of urgency and angst – without a message being hollered full-frontal. Sounds of industry, of air raid signals merge and pass, and the tapestry becomes timeless between war and peace – internal and external. A sleeper hybrid in our midst.