When searching for music to match the most horrific sights of this world, many would consider it logical to look first at Death Metal, Black Metal or Grindcore. The scum of the world could easily be summarized by the music of bands such as Napalm Death
with their chaotic explosions of fury.
On the opposite end, we have the minimalist leanings of ambient music. Artists such as Brian Eno
and Pete Namlook
have created music softer and more delicate than rose petals floating down to the moist and dewy ground. Surely if the six degrees of separation theory were to fail, it would be in linking ambient to scum. For the respective apogee and nadir of musical texture clearly do not belong together.
Yet it is with just one swift movement, that we see the career of Mick Harris traverse from the founders of grindcore, Napalm Death
, to become one of the leading forces behind the ‘90s ambient music movement under the recording names Lull and Scorn. Upon hearing that Mick Harris eloped to the ambient genre, many of the legions that worshipped him in his time drumming for Napalm Death
would think he’d turned into a fruitcake. Yet once again in contrast to popular belief, Mick Harris’s ambient albums can be described by many of the same words used to describe Napalm Death
. Horror, fear and darkness are all key elements in Harris’s dark ambient album Dreamt About Dreaming
, and are performed in a way that is far more petrifying than anything released by Napalm Death
Whenever words are found within the sparse landscape of Dreamt About Dreaming
, they do not bring consolation or love. There is no warmth within them, but rather horrified expressions of madness. The words of Eyes Through Walls
are spoken in a petrified tone; the endless repetition of “I’m going to hell” drives itself painfully into the listener as the unrelenting drums pound away at the soul. Eyes Through Walls
seems as if it were stuck in an enclosed room, the chilling washes of noise resonating in the listeners mind as their sanity slowly erodes away. Eyes Through Walls
does not present any quick hits for the listener, but brings emotions usually reserved for horror movies.
The washes of noise found in Eyes Through Walls
are one of Mick Harris’s most commonly used tools, present in some form or another in nearly every song. The constant washing ambience almost drains the listener of all emotion, wearing down the listener gradually. Yet whilst they are ever-present, their presence does not override some of the most chilling moments within the album. The subdued melody within Time
acts as a constant throughout the song. Alien noises flutter and fly past whilst the soft repetition of the melody floats along. Whilst tranquillity can almost be felt in Time
, the presence of something else is noticeable. The isolation of the song becomes more evident with every listen, alone on a foreign planet with Time
stretching out forever.
takes place within a more violent landscape, a raging storm creating noise all around that covers the sporadic pounding from within. The loud pounding against the walls of the song become more frantic towards the end, as the storm leaves and darkness approaches. As the silence enshrouds the song, the pounding too becomes fainter, hopelessly alone. Like Beating Within
, each song has its own unique landscape, some bring horror amidst chaos, whilst others bring a sense of quiet helplessness, alone in the world. For many the thought of 9 horrifying visions that bring a sense of isolation from the world would not sound very attractive. Yet as the terror seeps into the listener, the almost entirely rhythm less tones become more and more attractive. Even as the drum riff gives shape to the quickening pace at the end of the title track, the building tension soon gives way to the chilling uneven notes of Stream Endless, Part 2
The experience gained from Dream About Dreaming
is not one entirely dissimilar to horror movies. Although it casts thoughts of self-doubt, isolation and paranoia into the listener; the panic caused by the onslaught of spine-tingling horror will raise the heartbeat of the listener tenfold.