AMN Reviews: Retribution Body – Baphomet (2022; Full Spectrum Records)

Matthew Azevedo, as Retribution Body, explores long, dark drones. A student of Pauline Oliveros, they are influenced by her explorations into deep sonics and intuitive awareness of music in its environment. Accordingly, Baphomet was recorded on a massive pipe organ as well as custom synth gear.

The four pieces making up this album vary in length, texture, and focus, though largely remain in lower registers. They range from gritty soundscapes to slowly-evolving cinematic alien melodies. Throughout, the emphasis is on oscillations – large and small layers of waves that pulse repeatedly. The result is minimal and often quiet, with a brooding tone. There is a certain relentless grinding to the long-held notes that is ominous without being overtly disturbing.

The invocation of Baphomet in the album’s title is not infernal – instead, it is a reference to the duality found in many aspects of our outer and inner worlds. As anyone who has spent time with drone music will appreciate, one moves between the poles of active listening (conscious engagement) and passive listening (subconscious absorption) over the course of such pieces. Thus, Azevedo’s titling of this effort is appropriate, perhaps granting the audience permission to let their attention drift and experience the music in a less conscious and more organic fashion.

Baphomet releases March 25 on Full Spectrum.