So during the last phase of Disaster Amnesiac's epic 2021 move, I lost the bio sheet that came with Ypsmael's new eh? Records release Box of Black. It's easy to recall that the sounds on this tape were produced for use within an art installation that utilized a completely dark room. Other than that, most of the details for Box of Black are murky to me.
This kind of fits, though, as the music that Ypsmael conjured up for this release keep bringing me back to that word "murky". Things bubble up from the silence and kind of float there, interacting with other sounds in a sonic soup that immerses the perception in ways that I imagine would make for a pretty harrowing journey through a completely dark space. Disaster Amnesiac has had visions of falling through layers of spinning matrices, much like those shots from old psychological horror films from the mid-20th Century, in which the person is spun around and around, going deeper and deeper into the void as that action continues relentlessly. About three tracks in, an insistent rhythm clips out on the track Becol, and while this may give some relief to a listener, it's only enhanced the overall anxiety jam feel for me. It's as if the conveyor belt to the abyss has increased its pace and is pushing even harder at the mind. I guess that it harks back the early waves of Industrial Music production, Death Factory and their fellow travelers, and it still works. Disaster Amnesiac can groove with it in the light of the day, and indeed daylight times are the only times that I've played Box of Black. Honestly I don't even want to know how these sounds would hit me at night!
(An aside here: did you know that Jeremy Benthem, consummate rationalist and inventor of the Panopticon, was deathly afraid of being attacked by ghosts at night? Just goes to show ya.....)
Getting back to Black, I guess it's not all doom and gloom as the track Rhombus gives off some neat synthesizer brightness for a spell before going dark again and Bob Outro hints at UFO Club-styled psychedelia, but even within these pieces it's tough to shake off the fear vibe, as that murky feeling evoked by the mysterious sound sources is never that far away within them. Again, imagine yourself hearing these sounds and not being able to see what's in front of or behind you..........damn.
You have to hand it to Ypsmael, they certainly don't ever lose the thread of the apparent vision for Box of Black. Be brave while you listen to it, and just maybe have a close friend nearby to guide you back to light, should you drift too far into the darkness while doing so.