Adam Stafford presents some highly unusual, hypnogogic trance inducing noise music with the aptly named EP, Torments Through Supernatural Flogging.
It is weird and unsettling and wouldn’t feel out of place scoring a drug induced dream sequence in a Darren Aronofsky film.
‘Dear Bill Gates, Will I be Executed’ brings together a seemingly unending supply of elements that don’t go together and then – through cyclic repetition – mashes them all into a unified conscious field that can be localised halfway between the sound of ambient experimental music and a vast cosmic fuelled by the souls of children who stay up past their bed-time.
The middle child in this three movement symphony of strangeness is ‘Hallglen Mathematics’, and – although possessive of more structure and pleasing acoustic elements – it continues the cyclic nature set out so far.
What it seems that Stafford does is set a loop duration and then occasionally add and remove elements for several minutes.
A lot of the sounds used are interesting and appealing, but the music doesn’t seem to go very far.
The respite from the clanging and crunching of the cyclical industrial sound towards the end of the track is quite relaxing indeed, but perhaps much in the same way as not being slapped with a fish for five minutes after a forty minute fish slapping session might be quite relaxing indeed.
I was excited to hear this work having reviewed Reverse Drift, a forty minute, semi-improvisational work of Stafford’s.
I had assumed that the cyclical nature of Reverse Drift and the lack of structural or timing progression was a crutch used to support the live nature of the recording, but those issues are still present here unfortunately.
Stafford seems to be an interesting and capable artist working on a number of projects and in a number of fields.
I am a fan of ambient, low-tempo, low-key electronic music but there is something about this project that just will not land for me.
The release ends on ‘Megadrive Swapcart Whitey’, which is fifteen minutes long and follows the same formula.
There are elements that are very intoxicating and enjoyable, but ultimately it is only in the carrying out of somnambulistic sigil rituals that I can see myself listening to this record again.
Words: Paul Aitken