Review: Darksmith – Imposter (Throne Heap, Jul 1)

It’s been just over fifteen years since Darksmith released his first limited-edition Mom Costume recordings and self-titled tape via Hanson, and almost exactly fifteen since Weightless came out on Chondritic Sound. Since then, unsurprisingly, the reclusive California-based artisan has covered a lot of ground, and yet each and every entry in his oeuvre has the same core element, an indefinable but undeniable stylistic singularity (or void) at the heart of the music that makes it distinctly Darksmith. That shifty, shadowed, corner-born juh naysay qua is especially relevant in the case of Imposter, the first proper full-length we’ve gotten since 2019’s Poverty of Will. Originally slated for an in-house LP release, the two 15-minute sides ended up in the capable hands of Throne Heap, who elected to press them on a run of gorgeous digipaks that feature some of the project’s most unsettling art yet. Like Hatred of Sound, the four tracks mine a lengthy span of source material (2012–2019), the eclectic mess carefully shaped into a focused half-hour suite that runs the gamut of sonic preoccupations old and new. “Looking for Idiots” and “Problem with Everyone” feature both bedroom-Blockaders clatter that would be right at home on Broken Brain or Dancing Out the Door and nocturnal, precariously cozy tape drone very much in the spirit of Gypsy. The titular imposter is caught between inside and out, lurking by rotting birdhouses and sputtering HVAC units for just as long as it spends creeping through basements and bedrooms. There are countless moments of brilliance scattered throughout, but the humbly harrowing end of “Hold Everything” might win out, shuddering to nothingness like a rattling final respirator breath. Imposter, perhaps more than any other release so far, permanently inks Darksmith in as “the master of externalizing the inner maelstrom.”

Listen to excerpts from the CD here.

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