Review: Validine Chronus – Blood Moon (self-released, Oct 31)

In 1998, the debut album by Validine Chronus (hereafter VC), Ultia, became the first release on Cyclene, a community and label for producers of experimental electronic music (other VC releases on Cyclene include Tofu, Cellulose, Agar [1999, CYC-002] and Quinto [2006, CYC-021]). I don’t know much about what happened in the time between those releases and the recent 20th anniversary reissue of Ultia in March of last year, but I do know that VC’s career has now restarted in earnest, with wonderful releases like Transdermal and now Blood Moon. VC’s penchant for textural ingredients like soft, brooding drones that often emulate the otherworldly transmissions of shortwave radio; buried tactility; and metallic, subtly melodic synth cells is quite pronounced on Blood Moon, a C66 whose six patient compositions occupy a particularly dark and brooding milieu. There’s somewhat of a nautical theme present, and not just from track titles like “Shipwrecked” and “Storm”; in fact, it’s on “Mission Control (Concern)” that we observe the first palpable sign of this element, as the unmistakable rattle of metal cables and aquatic flow of shifting static evoke a strangely synthetic maritime environment. The second part of the staggered “Mission Control” suite is the tape’s most overtly tonal excursion, forming itself around a dense cluster of progressive electronic arpeggios before its structure collapses into the foggy, menacing tension of “Storm.” In my opinion this is the tape’s best track, a slowly shifting mass of pitch-black thunderclouds and oppressive murkiness that flows into the reserved but still somewhat terrifying “Consequence.”