Friday, May 27, 2016

DREYT NIEN
“Les Rivières de la Nuit” C50
(ERR Recordings)




There’s an ancient proverb that goes, “In space, no one can hear you scream.” Those who intoned these mystical words forgot one important thing – in space, no one can hear you do anything. No one can hear you jog along the corridor of your spacecraft. No one can hear you prepare your space food in the galley. No one can hear you practice your modular synthesizer in your cabin. It’s space fact – there’s no freaking sound.

Fortunately, in space, everyone can hear Dreyt Nien for some reason, because Dreyt Nien has the ability to transcend physical limitations. Or maybe my enthusiasm for Alien references led me down a rabbit hole I’ll never escape. Either way, Dreyt Nien does have the ability to transmit his modular synthesizer compositions in a wavelength that’s translatable to the human ear, and we’re all the better for it. The mysterious French composer has a distinct and possibly disturbing fascination with the outer limits of the human ability to adapt to non-Earth conditions, and that combination of isolation and discovery serves to focus Les Rivières de la Nuit (“Rivers of the Night” – am I the only one getting the deep space vibe, then?) in enthralling ways.

Les Rivières de la Nuit recalls modular synth maestros ranging from Morton Subotnick to Keith Fullerton Whitman, and can find modern tape-scene equivalents in the work of Hollowfonts, Mortuus Auris and the Black Hand, and the White Reeves Productions crew. The tape varies within a defined space, not veering too far beyond “chilling” or “tense,” if at all. There’s the creeping miasma of the title track, the percussive dread of “Psychopods,” the decaying AI of “Ici Sont Des Dragons,” and the minuscule malfunctions threatening disaster of “Dix Neuf Abîmes.” I think it’s safe to say that Dreyt Nien has harnessed a distinct vibe.

If there was ever a moment to remind you that you should always take every precaution while on a maintenance spacewalk outside your craft, now’s the time, because Les Rivières de la Nuit is the soundtrack to everything going wrong, resulting in your permanent separation.  There’s no more safety after that. Maybe your comm will work for a little while as you drift, watching your ship get smaller and smaller as it moves away from you, and you can talk to your crewmates to give your good-byes. Or maybe you will scream, in panic, until there’s only static. The possibilities are endless! Let Dreyt Nien guide you to your doom, possibly in the form of getting hit by a passing asteroid.

Oh, uh, tapes are sold out from the label, better hit up the artist page, and quick!




--Ryan Masteller

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