dystopia: the second dawn

dys-tsd.jpg (11k) dystopia: the second dawn
(Origo Sound - 1998)

Don't expect to be feeling the sun shine or hearing the birds sing when the second dawn comes upon us... this 74-minute dystopian vision offers a dreary (though well produced and cohesively designed) post-apocalyptic glimpse as seen through the black-rose-colored glasses of Norwegians, Pertti Grönholm (synths, samplers, tapes) and Ismo Virta (guitars and effects).

Of the 14 tracks (three are very short ...), many fall into the same eerie desolation zone as the opener, destroyer. A hollowly ringing void is filled with light electronic fallout, a heartbeat rhythm and distorted words. Documentary narrative figures into core melt, a more musical selection which begins as sample-laden dark electro, but winds up somewhat brighter with stridently chiming synth bells. Cold rain and choir sounds lead into the chamber which pulses with a distant mechanical thrum and closer electron bursts.

A short public service anouncement, breaking news is probably real, which makes its almost-laughable naivete all the more shocking. A burbling bass rhythm, synth strings, light beats and samples ride over the barren residue of when the wind blows, another overtly musical piece. More ominous and brewing with a strong sense of an impending explosion, technocracy conceptually blends politics, science and societal control issues into a darkly surging electronic force, eventually overlain with icy keyboard shards.

Another intriguing documentary piece, the dice mixes its sampled material with simmering synths. Similarly, the spoken word passages of shelters are infused with a radiant electrohum, both beautiful and menacing in its shapeless power. Slightly altered by echo effects, three seconds is another brief, amazingly misinformative PSA. The vocal distortions which open the 10-minute-plus sands of sanai are much more pronounced, then the track hits its stride as a murkily sinuous, somewhat Middle-Eastern rhythm-fest, operating in a Muslimgauze-lite mode.

dark ages (0:28) offers yet another spoken opinion, with its vocals run through the same filter that Darth Vader uses. Spacier and bleepier, the unforeseen is a resonant (but brief) journey through a pulsing electron field. Muted mutations and distant reverberations are heard when diving into the deep. Deep drones buzz and soft sonic waves are threaded with live wires and occasional sizzling (or is it drizzling?). A final meltdown of audiovisual sound sources and amorphous musical accompaniment, the second dawn (10:55) hovers in a hazy cloud whirling with talk, drone and faraway funeral drumbeats. And, if the verbal material of the disc isn't enough, the attractive liner notes provide further anit-nuclear readings with appropriately gloomy artwork.

While its "nukes are bad" message has been done to death, the second dawn's expertly-executed mode is enticingly dark (garnering an AmbiEntrance 8.4). I'm definitely hoping to hear more from dystopia.

You can e-mail Origo Sound for more info; and/or the second dawn can be ordered from GROOVE Unlimited (Europe), Eurock Online or Backroads (USA).

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This review posted June 25, 1999

AmbiEntrance © 1999-97 by David J Opdyke (except CD cover art, rights retained by original owners).