Review Summary: The Stratospheric Colossi of Sound
A 4 disc album leviathan encompassing an inconceivable myriad of sound over its mammoth
234 minute, 48 second, 4 millisecond running length.
By far the most primitive part of the album, Disc 1 is electronic music at its loudest; stormy waves of synths mercilessly crashing against the staccato drums that line the shoreline, whilst fragments of melody toss about on the primordial ocean of static. Paying homage both to their previous work and that of their aural ancestors, Pansonic thoroughly explore the dark corners of industrial whilst bringing their own unique ingredients to the mix. This is primeval sound; ancient tribal dances reborn in the dark wastes of the concrete jungle. Recalling everything from Throbbing Gristle to Blixa Bargeld's crew of soundsmiths,
yet still deservedly claiming its own place on the concrete pedestal; Disc 1 is pure, focused and crushing industrial at its finest. Raw and emotive, dark and dangerous, it is the fundament of the behemoth that is Kesto
- a welcome and familiar starting point that crumbles all too soon into ruins of sound; uncharted territory where Pansonic truly come into their own.
A smorgasbord of washy synths,ambient sounds and distorted percussion, Disc 2 is a more restrained affair. The focus here is on subtlety rather than brute force, and the results are an odd mix of ambience and rhythmic energy. Slow burning synths feature prominently, hissing in a fountain of flame and light before suddenly vanishing. Microtones glimmer then fade like dying stars, briefly and agonizingly illuminating the silent blackness, whilst glitchy beats slice the soundwaves with the utmost precision, rhythmic scalpels in the dark operating theatres of sound.
Pansonic have strayed from the beaten path of industrial techno before, but the majestic climax and fade of Arktinen
into Disc 3 marks the point where they finally abandon their musical maps, drop their staves and plunge wholeheartedly into the esoteric wilderness. Alien sounds lurk unseen in the mist, shattered remnants of the explosions which gave birth to the Universe. Here in the secret places of the earth, where the sine bleached bones of Nono and Varese lie, Pansonic start to dig.
Disc 4 is the zenith of the album and the lonely track, Sateily
, is by far the most exquisite part of Kesto
. A plethora of synths, so fragile as to be almost aurally translucent, float delicately on a slowly oscillating sinewave sea. If and when humanity evolves sufficiently to stop its banal ape like bustling and places its collective ear against the dark fabric of space, these are the sounds that will emanate from the incalculable darkness. This message is but an hour long; just as easily it could last for all infinity.
One imagines that if Pansonic had the means, they'd be more than happy to create music that would last eons, the soundtrack to the birth and death of planets and civilisations, the soundwaves dying away only when God finally decided to flick the killswitch on existence.
After all, these are composers who once spent days on end in a sealed bunker with nothing but low frequency sine waves and water to sustain them. This is a group who performed live in London in an Audio Weapons Armoured Car System; a sound system set up on an armoured vehicle used for quelling riots by blasting out frequencies harmful to humans. A band who assembled their own crushing instruments out of shattered electronics, coaxing them to whisper and scream their dark secrets to the world. Luminaries who dug deep into the ruins of aural substance itself to drag out the ancient voices that lurk around us, dissecting harmony and melody in the search for the elusive and infinite.
But when their aim is nothing less than the complete and utter annihilation of sound, what else can you expect?