Extreme Meditations: Daniel Jones recommends Theologian’s The Further I Get From Your Star, The Less Light I Feel On My Face
There’s something powerful, otherworldly, in Theologian’s music that transcends not only genre classifications like ‘dark ambient’ and ‘power electronics’, but time and space as well.
Though the mind behind the sound, one Lee M Bartow (aka Leech), has been releasing music under Navicon Torture Technologies since 1997, this debut full-length under a new moniker is imbued with new energy—possibly siphoned from a collapsing star.
The Further I Get From Your Star, The Less Light I Feel On My Face is relentless from the very beginning. The howling blast of “Zero” entwines itself into your ears and mind and holds you there in its blackened embrace. While elements of NTT are still present (from industrial noise to completely deconstructed black metal), there’s a more ritualized psychedelic feel to this debut, akin to the esoterica of Coil‘s bleakest moments. There’s an obscure sort of melodicism apparent as well, though it’s the melodicism of the Void: the seesawing electronic hums of “Unfamiliar Skies” soon grow to resemble the looped coos of doves against an unfamiliar and shattered sky, while the vocal wails of “In Times Of Need, We All Go Against Our Natures” feel like a desperate cry from the pit, begging for release that will never, ever come.
Many (most?) would consider this to be noise music. I, however, view it as something close to body music: frequencies that touch not only the cochlea but spiral down into the muscle tissue, organs, nerves, and bones—perhaps the very soul itself, in whatever aspect of that idea you care to imagine. It’s meditative in an extreme way, hypnotic and sub-magickal. Close listening to discern new depths in tracks is essential here, for the Prophet Theologian soars as much as he crushes; “Bearing Bitter Fruit”, for example, sounds like Sunn O))) played at 1/100th speed, more raging than despairing. The combination of organic and mechanical sounds also evoke the obscenities of body-horror films like Tetsuo: The Iron Man: self-mutilation and torture that breeds synthesis and rebirth. The nature of the audio here scours the listener raw, but it’s cleansing, rewarding. The Further I Get From Your Star‘s release on Crucial Blast is fitting, for this is, indeed, crucial music. Look for a release on Experimedia in the near future.
Published March 02, 2013. Words by Daniel Jones.