(Cover Art: Daniel Raphael Potthast)
By: Summer Li
With a title reminiscent of a Scandinavian death metal band and an album cover straight from the set of an 80’s sci-fi film, Archivus Mysterium is much, much more than either of these two suggests. However, it is eclectic in two respects. The compilation features 12 tracks, each produced by a different artist from the Wondrous Temple of Boom collective, and represents a sweep of genres; from downtempo and IDM, to dubstep, glitch and even industrial—a neglected genre, these days.
The first chunk of the album holds the heavier tracks with Freddy Todd's dub-inspired “Giant Swomp Beast,” which sounds exactly like the title’s fat, omnivorous namesake, and “Gibbous” where the edges of dubstep and drum & bass intermingle in a refreshingly stylized pattern which takes the track off the beaten path. While “Further” borrows aesthetic elements from the underappreciated world of psytrance, Quetzatl's “Whompa Ambush” is an industrial cut that would feel right at home on a Skinny Puppy record.
The latter half of the compilation slows it down. It’s here where the artists explore the downtempo and hip-hop: Agent Wu’s “Bodhi Dreams” is extremely familiar to the likes of Japanese counterpart DJ Krush, “Universal Translators” contrasting a simple hip-hop beat with Eastern instruments, and the extremely moody standout “Sithdub” tripping and hopping over the others while wah…wah-ing with weeping guitar notes.
Each track is a piece of art bending its limitation and defying categorization. Experimental in nature, but ripe in execution, Archivus Mysterium is a great listen—but not for the stubborn and expectant.
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