AMN Reviews: Three From Silken Tofu – Barchan / dB/Mz / Instinct Primal

0003983616_10Silken Tofu is a European label putting out a mix of ambient, industrial, noise, and electronic releases. We have had a chance to listen to several of their 2015 releases, and are duly impressed by the quality of the efforts therein. All of their material is available for streaming on Bandcamp.

Barchan – Soliton (2015; Silken Tofu)

This release is billed as live “percussion-driven industrial drone music,” a fitting description indeed.  Barchan consists of James Welburn on drones and Tomas Järmyr on drums. The single, 57-minute track (which appears to be divided into several movements) involves Welburn laying down one to three layers of static-drenched background drones, with occasional foreground growlings.  In addition to this dark and ominous foundation, Järmyr plays a drum kit in the style of free jazz or improv (think Han Bennink meets Tony Buck). The result is something that would be right at home at the Big Ears Festival, or similar endeavors.

dB/Mz – The Light To Come (2015; Silken Tofu)

dB/Mz is the duo of Magnus Zetterberg and David Bengtsson, who collectively create a set of dark, intense soundscapes. Not unlike Lustmord, dB/Mz could fall into the category of deep-space ambient, though with a more industrial twist. In addition to subtle background drones, foreground elements, such as undulating waves, clashing of metals, and distorted scraping are frequently present. On at least one track, grinding patterns of interference serve as an abrasive melody, reminiscent of the electroacoustic efforts of modern classicists.

Instinct Primal – Dazzling Darkness (2015; Silken Tofu)

This, the first solo album from Jan Kruml, is dark ambient in the vein of mid-nineties Robert Rich. Kruml focuses on slow-moving washes, and dramatic fanfares. But interspersed between are indistinct voices. Haunting and reminiscent of a science-fiction movie soundtrack, the album includes a generous share of drones and spacescapes, not to mention post-industrial elements. Non-western percussion accompanies on two of the tracks, adding an earthy element to otherwise non-worldly music.