White Darkness

ToKAGE

Written by: DR on 12/06/2012 22:01:13

My apologies, everyone, as I have been unapollogetically lax in my reviewing duties recently. I am aiming to get back on that horse, though, and Jason Köhnen's (aka White Darkness) second album is among the many of 2011 that I haven't yet penned my thoughts on.

Jason Köhnen is the founding (and only) member of Bong Ra, part of The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, and many more. Having been active for as long as he has, and involved with as many projects as he has, it comes to no surprise that the man has a handle on what it is he wants to achieve with his compositions. However, his efforts under White Darkness are seemingly a departure for him, as he aims to "take the essence of Doom Metal (the funeral drums and place it into a futuristic and nihilistic background". He aims to do this by taking the characteristics of doom metal, such as the claustrophobic, at times unrelenting nature of the music, but with minimal backdrops - he mostly comprises his soundscapes of pianos, electronics, drums, the occasional use of strings, and a whole load of space.

It's certainly impressive that, while the compositions are undoubtedly epic in ambition and proportion, they are still intricate enough that they invoke thoughts of confinement, even imprisonment, within the listener. Moreover, there's a striking attention to detail over such a grand scope in terms of the production, how certain elements fade, grow stronger, or seem to swirl about your headphones. This is best exemplified in efforts such as "hHi|d4Ee" and the warped "messe][noir".

However, though "ToKAGE" is respectable in that it's completely immaculate, clearly a lot of time and effort has clearly been spent on piecing this together, it's still adamantly single-paced. Unfortunately, there's very, very little - if any - variation between tracks from its beginning to its finish, making the 47 minute run-time feel twice that. Yes, I understand that is the point, as evidenced by how each song runs seamlessly into the next, but when the songs are meagre rather than minimalistic, and the pacing of the album is brutally slow, it ultimately makes it seem slightly more like an exercise than a worthwhile listening experience.

6

Download: messe][noir
For The Fans of: experimental drone music
Listen: Denovali Page

Release Date 21.10.2011
Denovali Records


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