AMN Reviews: Nihil Impvlse – STASIS (2020; Eighth Tower Records)

Nihil Impvlse’s STASIS is a dark ambient / noise / industrial experimentation that is a fitting release for the end of 2020. It was a year that involved extreme geographic stasis (staying at home) for many of us that led to a disconnection with time itself (Google “blursday”). But STASIS takes this notion even further, and through spoken word quotes makes a political comment on how there may be an intentional effort on the part of some entities to maintain their own power at all costs. Change is an illusion – as is time itself – reminiscent of the themes in Orwell’s Animal Farm. The listener can easily draw lines to current events, as hundreds of millions of people seem to be ready to renounce democracy and majority-rule for institutional structures that we rejected decades ago.

Musically, this is expressed with layers of wafting and ominous drones combined with harsh walled noise, echoing percussive elements, and static-laden electronics. In contrast, some pieces take on a more atmospheric angle, with gentler drones, distant machine noises, oscillating tones, and pulsing rhythms. The spoken word parts are not extensive – they make their points with just a few repetitions. The result is not an easy listen, and yet ultimately rewarding in its diversity and fresh approach.

If you can deal with a bit more darkness this year, STASIS is a very well done effort with a mood that is commensurate with that of the times. Highly recommended.

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