Saturday, 29 September 2012

Emit - Spectre Music of an Antiquary


Throughout this blog's existence, I've been looking to champion music that is independent, underground or obscure. I've on occasion, departed from the metal/hardcore leanings that I started with and delved deeper, into more challenging and unnerving musical creations. It has led me to this tape, from English dark ambient entity, Emit.

Emit surfaced in 1998, although didn't officially release any material until 2000. Emit has gone onto release a number of demo's since then, but also two splits and a full length, which surfaced in 2005. Emit went through a name change and resurfaced as Hammemit in 2008, however this tape sees the re-awakening of Emit and the first release since 2009.

This tape is also one of the last releases from Yorkshire based black metal/ambient label Glorious North Productions. The tape itself is a thing of mystery. The artwork and case give no clue as to the artist or release title, the cassette contained therein is a plain, black tape, with no discerning marks. It's only when you read the insert that you get any clue as to the artist, but even this carries on the mystery. The tape itself contains 8 druidical, black ambient compositions.

Tracklisting:-

1. Haunter of Benighted English Summers
2. Mors Wher Devels are Abrod
3. The Dusk Gardens of Translucent Mansions
4. Shades Over the Mere
5. Trees Once Adorn'd With Severed Heads
6. Sylvan Old Enchanter
7. The Meadow Reapers 
8. Emanations From Beneath Far Hills, Beyond Far Moons

As with past records of this ilk, I've found it a challenge to review this tape, but that is the whole point of music like this, to challenge the listener and sometimes to unnerve them.
This tape features 7 songs on the A-side and 1 on the B-side. When I first heard that this was a black ambient record, I was unsure of what to expect. I have visions of it being loud and unlistenable, due to the noises and sounds invoked, but I was wrong. The initial, winding intro of Haunter of Benighted English Summers sounded very pleasing. It featured different musical and instrumental textures, and seemed far removed from the usual ambient black metal genre. Mors Wher Devels are Abrod is slightly more strange in it's make-up. There's some subtle drum like sounds in the background. The main melody sounds like a church organ and it's punctuated with sounds that could either be shrieking crows or the shrieking vocals of a tortured human being. It dies down, with the sound of strings and fades away leaving only silence.

The closest reference point I could give you so far, is the soundtrack to the first Silent Hill Playstation game, where you were walking round dark passages and the music was there to unnerve you and not for entertainment purposes. That reference point however is just my uneducated mind working and may be way off the mark. The Dusk Gardens of Translucent Mansions seems to be even more haunting. There are vocals in this compositions. They sit atop of more percussion and winding instrumentation and sound like they were recorded in a cavernous hall, due to the echos that can be heard with every spoken word. They seem to get louder, as if the speaker is possessed and alone, waiting for the inevitable hook of the grim reaper to end his suffering. It's certainly not something you should be listening to in the dark, alone.

Each short composition on the A-side seems to follow a path, or contribute to a story. It may have no words to speak off, but if you use your imagination, it could conjure up strange, otherworldly visions. I think it is the spoken chant-like passages that really set me on edge.Musically, it's hard to pin down, as the music is more pulled from field recordings and is just there to add to the atmosphere of the tape as a whole. By the time you reach fifth psalm, Trees Once Adorn'd with Severed Heads, you're greeted with more volume. The percussion beats quietly in the background and the instrumental textures seem to favour a droning, simple melody of sorts. The music and the influence of Emit is medieval and one of old England. Emit does a good job of conjuring images of days of yore, when people lived off the land and were free from the trappings that came with progress, capitalism and modern luxuries. Sylvan Old Enchanter certainly gives you that feeling. The Meadow Reapers is a field recording and full of haunting noises, groans and cries. This is the final song on the A-side and leaves you, as a listener, seeking solace and the warm embrace of those who keep you safe.

There is only one song on the B-Side. Emanations From Beneath Far Hills, Beyond Far Moons is twelve minutes of experimental noise and ambiance. It groans and whines along. It makes no attempt to lift you from your scared, claustrophobic trance.Musically, I can't really say anything as this is another field recording, so there are no usual textures. It's mainly haunting, quiet noise and sounds which permeate the silence. The recording and production however is very good. It's clear and there's no sign of the usual hiss you get with tapes. Overall, this type of music will only appeal to a certain audience, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. If you like dark ambient, minimalist compositions, you should definitely pick up a copy of this tape.

You can stream the whole tape here via Glorious North Productions -



Said tape can be purchased from Glorious North Productions at http://www.gloriousnorth.co.uk/.
Emit also has a dedicated website at http://hammemit.wordpress.com/

Glorious North Productions Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Glorious-North-Productions

While still available to buy from Glorious North Productions, Spectre Music Of The Antiquary has been re-released by Crucial Blast and is available here - http://www.crucialblastshop.net.

Crucial Blast Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/CrucialBlast

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