A drone burning with high and low frequencies settles into a rhythm that is abandoned as the listener immerses themselves in it. It would be an odd choice, but the bending and oscillating monolith that comes after it shows the intent of Red Moon’s second full release, Eclipsing. It is to intimidate with its immensity and keep the listener guessing with its improvisations.
Atop the ghoulish monolith are vocals by Human Host Body front man Luka Bevk, known here as Umdhlebi. The vibrato of his voice matches and plays off the undulating layer of drones from Brgs on modular synth. This movement builds and ascends, calms down, and ascends again with higher pitches. Fading into sinister synth rhythms, the part becomes alien and brightly foreboding. The track burns, pushing the limits of mixing board, for minutes until it slowly, slowly comes down into the same synth melody, which is contextualized in a new light.
The tape continues with a cyclically creepy sci-fi loop and a dry bass sound that contrasts well with the synth. Slowly discontent bubbles to the surface and the loops fall into an asynchronous confluence of sounds that create a drone with their constituent parts. This second piece, “Portal in the Neptune Aurora Vortex,” is a linear narrative that is both cohesive and contained.
Just after the halfway point of the album is a manipulated sample, first tuned down an octave, then sampled rhythmically on a pad, and finally moved up an octave and sped up. Though the sample is manipulated, its content is never opaque. It speaks of a study that aims to determine humanity’s effect on the planet, but as it gets into the details it is obscured beyond comprehension. Through the fog, the listener can discern a single line—“Where that behavior will lead us”—while drones spin around it.
Then it is all chaos and disorder. Over the penultimate, six-minute track, “Ascending the Frozen Mountains of Pluto,” the listener can’t predict what is going to happen from moment to moment. It seems like the right response to the delayed samples of the previous track. While up until now I see purpose in each included improvisation, I don’t see why the final track was included. It is only two minutes, but it feels like the release could have made more of a statement by ending unexpectedly.
As with Red Moon’s first release, a doubled-sided tape of creepy, industrial drone and noise called Full Moon, which I definitely recommend, you can feel what is going in the room. It is clear that these tracks were conceived in the moment, with both individuals working off one another. Both recreate the visceral environments in which they were conceived.