Deathprod - Imaginary Songs From Tristan Da Cunha LP
Label: Smalltown Supersound
Deathprod is the existentially bleak solo project of Helge Sten, who is also a key member of both Supersilent and Motorpsycho. In 2004, Rune Grammofon published a 4CD box-set compendium of Deathprod's work that was recorded between 1991 and 2000. Housed in an matte black box with a all black artwork and the sparest of text, this anthology presented itself as a semantic void, with nothing but the harrowing orchestrations of controlled noise and brooding atmosphere into Deathprod's oeuvre. This reissue campaign from Smalltown Supersound marks the first time any of these recordings have been on vinyl. Like before with the CD box-set, this too is enshrouded in matte black packaging.
Working with old magnetic tape recorders, hand made delay and sundry other electronic devices, Sten manipulates fragments of sound (e.g. a two note melodic interval or a final orchestral cadence) into brooding dark soundscapes, rich with overtones from feedback and often overlaid with guest performances from fellow Supersilent members. It is the very limitations of the equipment that Sten uses that become the sources for the beautiful timbres he produces: an over-saturated tape input, a primitive sampler that never reproduces the same note the same way twice or the uneven decay from primitive tape delays. Typical are tracks which blossom out from a single cell of an idea: one chord, or one blast of noise. At times Deathprod sounds almost like an attempt at recreating Thomas Koner's soundscapes using the audio palette of Mauricio Bianchi.
On Imaginary Songs From Tristan Da Cunha, Sten went so far as to record tracks on a Nagra deck, transfer them to wax cylinders and then transfer them once more to digital media. The result are authentically old and decaying tracks which are hauntingly beautiful as well. Other tracks feature deteriorating blasts of what sounds almost like a fog horn progressively decaying into grinding metal; throbbing drones and eerie female chorus, taking cues from Ligeti's Lux Aeterna and building with layers of feedback into chilling washes of sound.