Vorval - Judden
Released: January 20
Consisting of two long-form pieces, this new release from UK-based artist Vorval is a haunting episode filled with airy drones and deep rumblings that conjure images of sparse landscapes decimated by some otherworldly extinction event. For much of the first, the listener is exposed to soft yet slightly harsh sounds of wind blowing over a barren world that has nothing to slow it down as strange booming sounds permeate the background alongside echoed plops, clunks, and clicks. It truly feels like standing in the middle of a desolate world and wondering what catastrophe befell it.
The second half largely continues this aesthetic, though it has a seemingly more mechanical quality to it that is difficult to place. The quiet drones seem to have a greater intensity to them, like we are now hearing the unnerving sounds of alien machinery slowly processing whatever materials it is built to do. The whole experience reminded me of playing Quake years ago, with these sounds feeling like a fill-in for the alien planet in which horrifying experiments, alterations, and processes were carried out. The utter darkness of the album is not so much frightening as it is discomforting. This feeling was amplifies for me as the lack of context and the bleak cover art allowed my mind to wander. It was an interesting experience for me that brought to mind some of the more grim media I have enjoyed over the years.