Mordant Music Mordant MusicPost-MorteM / ModeM
If you were wondering where Mordant Music had gotten to, here is the answer to all of your questions. It’s true that the Baron, Ian Hicks, had been very quiet since the 2009 release of the album “SyMptoMs” and the occasional accompanying EP. His biggest effort until now had been creating a soundtrack for “MisinforMation”, a DVD released by the British Film Institute. It consisted of a visual and musical mash-up, using old footage from what is known in England as ‘public information films’ - material Mordant Music used to go back in time and recover memories in his fragmented, sepia manner. And now, two years after the DVD, three after the album –and one after the 7” with Belbury Poly, which doesn’t count for much– MM is back. But the comeback isn’t exactly what one would expect: while one might anticipate a sound somewhere between techno, exploratory ambient and spectral allusions to old films, television adverts, and a pagan, leafy England - the two sides of this 12” suggests a painful, uncomfortable industrial assault in which there is barely a trace of the rusty subtlety of the earlier recordings. Something has changed around Mordant Music and the change takes us into nightmarish territory.
“Post-MorteM” may have dub influences, especially in terms of the power of the resounding echoes, but its final configuration is perfectly industrial. It possesses a texture of fire and iron, dirty and uncared-for, over which the sounds bubble like burning steel or dissolve like something rotten. Although there is a hint of light at a moment in the beginning, the seven minutes of the A-side are the description of a desolate, apocalyptic landscape in which the only forms of life are germs and weeds—and it all ends with these strange screams like a horse in agony, or the call of a bird of ill omen. It’s like the hardest fragments of “SyMptoMs”, but an extended, concentrated version without any painkillers. In a similar vein is “ModeM”, which starts out with the effect of wind beating against a barren wasteland, completed by a beat that scratches with too much DSP like an especially morbid Aphex Twin piece, before it leaves again, abandoning us to emptiness, solitude, and pain. We should prepare ourselves for an especially dark year of Mordant Music if this goes on (if something follows it). This new material makes the decrepitude of the double “The Tower” (2005 and 2007) into music for children.