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02.Death In June - Live At The Edge Of The World [CD+7"] 2018
03.Death In June - Live At The Edge Of The World [2LP GREY] 2018
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SMR09 - Hikikomori - Far From The World [CD]

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SMR 09



After the first eponym album and the second release «A STory Of Monstrosity», both released on CDR, comes finally Hikikomori’s first proper CD release.
To make it short and simple, this is a dark ambient/noise gem.

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Tracklist :

1   Untitled    
2   Untitled    
3   Untitled    
4   Untitled    
5   Untitled    
6   Untitled    
7   Untitled    
8   Untitled    
9   Untitled


After two previously released album (both CDR’s) Hikikomori strikes back with an album featuring nine untitled tracks.
This project invites us on trip throughout a dark and mysterious universe. It all appears to be a kind of soundscape with some ambient-ritual influences. The more you enter this secret world, the more you feel surrounded by dark atmospheres and pure sonic tormented arrangements. You get the impression that imprisoned souls are appealing for relief. Spooky vibes are getting the curious visitor in their grip and before you can realize what’s going on, you’re just becoming an extra imprisoned soul… a poor mortal exposed to the tormenting assaults of an ambient/evil master.
Hikikomori brings sonic obscurity to the surface. Even if this is not an absolute masterpiece it’s a very efficient release in the genre!

Evidently, Hikikomori translates to 'pulling away, being confined,' a term coined to describe social recluses. As such, the title of the album seems fitting. More importantly, the music fits with the title and band name. The label describes this album thus: 'To make it short and simple, this is a dark ambient/noise gem.' The packaging is minimal and the album consists of nine unnamed tracks. Hikikomori walks us through a dark industrial wasteland of disconcerting soundscapes. Track 1 is solid dark ambient, but then we quickly move into noisier realms. Track 3 sounds like we are tromping along with the artist through a factory. At times it gets a bit more quiet, only to bring you back into the noise. On track 6 we get an interesting mix of low wailing, digital noises that sound somewhat like a large flock of chirping birds, all crushed beneath a series of drones reminiscent of Lustmord's 'Paradise Disowned.' At times it seems to get a bit repetitive though, as on track 8. However, overall this is solid noisy dark ambient.

Rating : 6.5

Giovane act di origine francese, Hikikomori prende nome dal fenomeno dell'isolamento - così definito in lingua giapponese - attuato intenzionalmente al fine di allontanarsi dalla vita sociale, anche per periodi prolungati. La digressione sul nome è propedeutica alla comprensione dello stile musicale di questo progetto, che ha all'attivo un paio di CDr a tiratura limitata editi dalla Steelkraft Manufactory (sublabel della Steelwork Machine), ed ora al debutto su CD proprio per l'etichetta madre. Non a caso le nove tracce vanno a tradurre in formato audio un opprimente senso di isolamento costruito secondo i canoni della dark ambient/death industrial più tetra, creata intrecciando rumori evocativi e mortuari. Nel particolare l'opera viene sviluppata tramite drones continui e sporchi, rumori circolari che prendono la forma di ritmiche sordide e accumuli stratificati di materiale sonoro, che avanza lento e imponente. Ruolo importante assumono sia le voci cacofoniche distorte in sibili, lamenti e urla, che la resa audio, capace di diversificare le emozioni con strutture in crescendo, passaggi squassanti e sottofondi ipnotici. Sul piano compositivo permane una calma plumbea che vede l'alternanza di toni in penombra ed esplosioni di oscurità totale, fatto che suggerisce all'ascoltatore situazioni diverse, più o meno concitate, ma sempre segnate da una forte carica ansiogena. Le atmosfere sono pressoché perfette e la tensione rimane sempre alta; l'unico limite è la derivatività, che non passerà inosservata ai patiti del settore: su ogni pezzo aleggia infatti un'aura di già sentito, con rimandi evidenti a tutta la vecchia scuola (Megaptera, Nordvargr, il Brighter Death Now di "Necrose Evangelicum") e a molti act di seconda generazione (Atrium Carceri). Al di là di ciò, "Far From The World" si pone come ideale colonna sonora per filmati inquietanti e videogame horror. In linea col contenuto anche la confezione in formato digifile scarno ma elegante, adornato da un artwork in cui prevale l'assenza luce.

Michele Viali

Die selbstgewählte Isolation, das eigene Gefängnis. Mit Hikikomori werden in Japan Menschen bezeichnen, die sich selbst von der Außenwelt abkoppeln und jeden Kontakt abbrechen. Ein seltsames, befremdliches, aber auch spannendes Thema, das sich das gleichnamige französische Projekt als Prämisse gesetzt hat. Der Titel der, nach zwei bisher veröffentlichten CD-Rs, ersten regulären CD "Far From The World" lässt erahnen, dass es auf diesem Longplayer genau um das Thema der Aussonderung geht. Passend dazu gibt es im Digipack keinerlei Informationen und selbst die Tracks bleiben ohne Titel.

Es beginnt mit hallenden Geräuschen, düsteren Drones und metallenem Kreischen. Es folgen pulsierendes Blubbern und noisige Einsätze. Viele Feldaufnahmen ziehen sich in wiederholenden Modulationen durch die Songs und verstärken das ohnehin seltsame Gefühl, das man beim Hören von "Far From The World" bekommt. Die absonderliche Atmosphäre, die verfremdeten, schemenhaften und oft unkenntlichen Klänge sowie die gespenstischen Samples beschreiben ein beängstigendes Innenleben eines sich selbst isolierenden Menschen. Da gibt es keinen Hoffnungsschimmer am Ende des Tunnels. Vielmehr nehmen die sich ohnehin ständig wandelnden Songs immer wieder mal an Intensität zu, zeigen rhythmische Strukturen oder verstärken die Drones und Geräusche.
Vogelgezwitscher und Stimmen könnten es sein, die einem entgegen hallen. Klingens tut es nach piepsenden Tönen und schmerzerfülltem, geisterhaftem Stöhnen, wobei nicht klar ist, wem letzteres entfährt. Am Ende werden diese Stimmen fast zu boshaften Schreien, zumindest könnte man sich das einbilden.

"Far From The World" ist ein faszinierender Einblick in menschliche Abgründe und ein dramatischer und bemerkenswerter dazu. Trotzdem dürfte das Album nur etwas für Spezialisten und Genre-Liebhaber sein. Der Otto-Normal-Ambient-Hörer wird damit nichts anfangen können.

Hikikomori’ is a Japanese term that refers to reclusive people who have voluntarily withdrawn from all aspects of social life, and it’s certainly an apt title for the contents of this album. I haven’t been able to turn up much information regarding the identity of Hikikomori, aside from the fact that he/she is a French dark ambient producer, and that in the wake of two preceding CDR releases, this third album ‘Far From The World’ represents his/her first ‘proper’ CD release. The isolationist aesthetic hinted at in the title certainly extends to the nine untitled tracks collected here, and rather than featuring any real peaks, this collection leans more towards building a constantly seeping sense of oppressive and claustrophobic atmosphere that calls to mind a sealed chamber slowly and relentlessly filling up with toxic gas.

If ‘Track One’ ominously sets the scene with what sounds like bowed drones gradually building into an oceanic trail of reverberative tones, the occasional dubbed out crackle adding a sinister edge to what sounds like the distant hum of vast machinery, ‘Track Two’ sees the murmur of unintelligible radio chatter hanging just out of reach as abrasive sheets of noise texture bleed into the forefront of the mix, the occasional melodic undertone seeming to drift through like a mirage. Elsewhere, ‘Track Three’ sees a hint of rhythmic texture making an appearance as repetitively crunching noises and the occasional snatch of echoing voices disappear into an echoing wall of noise that calls to mind the wash of reflected noise in a subway tunnel, before ‘Track Five’ sees more delicate, glitchy tones floating out over a slow bleed of grinding machine noise and slowed down melodic tones that sees a hint of beauty rearing its head, albeit briefly, through all of the ugliness. While there’s certainly an effective Lustmord-esque sense of claustrophobic isolation generated here however, there’s isn’t really much in the way of real progression or variation, making this collection difficult to really engage with.

Chris Downton

Een eenmans dark ambient project uit Frankrijk, genoemd naar een Japans sociaal fenomeen, waarbij een persoon, meestal een jongere (student), zich sociaal volledig terugtrekt en weigert om nog uit zijn woning of kamer te komen. Hoewel dit verschijnsel in Japan als een uniek syndroom wordt gezien, denkt men dat het wereldwijd voorkomt en min of meer overeenkomt met wat in het Westen aangeduid wordt met termen als sociale fobie, ontwijkende persoonlijkheidsstoornis, autismespectrumstoornis, agorafobie, burn-out of depressie. Volgens schattingen van de Japanse overheid zijn er mogelijk 3.6 miljoen Japanners die zich op zo'n manier hebben teruggetrokken. De reden van Hikikomori wordt vooral gezocht bij de enorm grote prestatiedruk in de Japanse maatschappij (te beginnen bij het onderwijs) die veel mensen gewoon niet aankunnen.

Met field recordings, gitaareffecten, samples en synthesizers worden klanktapijten gecreëerd, met de bedoeling een sombere, dreigende en ongemakkelijke sfeer te scheppen, een opzet waarin Hikikomori op dit album alvast wonderwel in slaagt. Als invloeden worden op de labelwebsite genoemd: Premature Ejaculation, Lustmord, Gruntsplatter, Aesthetic Meat Front en Schloss Tegal.

“Far From The World” is de eerste ‘echte’ cd na de cdr-albums “Hikikomori” (2009) en “A Story Of Monstrosity” (2010) en bevat 9 titelloze tracks (speelduur 66 minuten) die je meevoeren op één grote luistertrip vol subtiele geluidjes. De stikdonkere, soms redelijk abstracte en experimentele klanksculpturen laten een grote klankenrijkdom horen, maar melodieën zijn ver te zoeken tussen de vele lagen diepduistere drones en allerlei sinistere, kriepende, piepende, soms huilende synthesizerklanken. De ronduit akelige sfeer in de complexe soundcollages komt tot een hoogtepunt in de zesde track, waar geluiden opduiken als van jammerende en klagende geesten. Een geweldige dreiging gaat uit van de muziek van Hikikomori. Ik heb geen idee in welke dimensie of in welke uithoek van het heelal we ons bevinden op '"Far From The Wold", maar het is er allerminst aangenaam toeven, zoveel is duidelijk. De entiteiten die er schuilen hebben niet veel goeds in de zin en positieve energie moet je elders gaan zoeken. Voor de liefhebber van inktzwarte dark ambient die elk straaltje daglicht schuwt.

This article was published on Sunday 28 October, 2012.
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