Reviews Search

morgenstern, "cold"

Although firmly rooted in the realm of power electronics, Morgenstern'slatest release tends to use this footing more as a springboard forother ideas and actions, rather than as an end in itself. Unlike Slogunand Control, just to name two others who use power electronics,Morgenstern is using this framework as the building blocks that enablethe exploitation of rhythm, distortion, tribal trance and other,darker, elements. Atmospherically, 'Cold' is all about opposites;aggression vs. meditation (or loud vs. quiet).
The first track, which gives the album its name, is a good example ofthe quiet side of this release. Calm, brooding, trance-like, but in theend very unsettling. This trance atmosphere, with the help of somebackground voices, ushers in the second track, which uses similartechniques to heighten the sense of disquiet. The electronics are alsointensified, so while this is not an assault of the type Whitehousemight produce, the sense of serenity is now missing. This bridgebetween the two tracks also a microcosm of the overall release. Worksslowly build and fade, forming a unique texture and flow. It is thethird song "Hypnotized," however, in which the potential of the firsttwo is in bloom. The distortion is way out there, the rhythm ispounding, driving, and the vocals are handled in such a way as to leaveany goth fan speechless (that and the constant church bell in thebackground). This track is a marriage between power electronics attheir finest, and all the best of Muslimgauze's later distortion, withthe fourth track takes expanding on this theme. Thundering, pounding,weaving in and out, the harsher elements are actually somewhatdiminished here, yet the distortion and rhythm are magnified.Furthermore, whatever is being done with the vocals, both in theforeground and background, is a flowering of pure evil. After a ratherghostly ending, an even harder song, the centerpiece of the album'saggression, "Insight" begins. Here the power electronics are at theirmost impressive, the distortion is constant, and the droney elementsare turned way down, which allows the vocals to take center stage.
The unique flow of this release is then restored on the next song,aptly titled "Interlude." Near playfulness a la Nurse With Wound over aheavy undercurrent. Here we are given time to rest and collectourselves, yet when we become aware of our sonic surroundings, they areno less disturbing than everything that has come before this. On theseventh song the slow build starts again. By the ninth track, after asuccession of builds, the intensity subsides again. Swirling anddreamy, the rhythm resembles the beat of a human heart, and one getsthe sensation of gaining entrance to another realm. The last piece,"Over," brings the listener back to the mood created by the one withwhich Cold began. More rhythmic than the first, but is no lessparadoxical, and just as its title suggests, that is how Morgensternleaves us.