Review: Lustmord & Karin Park ‘Alter’

LustmordBrian Williams is a prolific musician/composer/producer whose career hearkens back to 1980 when he first became known as Lustmord. His immense catalog includes works with industrial and ambient pioneers such as Chris and Cosey (Throbbing Gristle), SPK, Coil, and Clock DVA. He has contributed scores to dozens of movies and video games and continues to push the boundaries of darkly ambient soundscapes and acoustic experimentation.

Lustmord & Karin Park ‘Alter’

Karin Park is an award-nominated multi-talented musician from Sweden and member of Årabrot, whose distinctive voice has been compared to Bjork. She has possibly become the newest practitioner of Glossolalia, a form of singing that does not rely on any specific language, but more speech-like sounds. Glossolalia is mostly referenced in religious worship, where it was known as ‘speaking in tongues’, and it can be heard today in the music of among others, Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance.

Alter – verb; to change something, usually slightly or to cause the characteristics of something to change; also convert or transform. In the case of the June 25th release of the Lustmord and Karin Park collaboration Alter, it could be argued that it is the latter. Lustmord’s trailblazing exploration into darkly ambient soundscapes combined with the poetic and soul-rending vocals of Karin Park, present a study in this meaning.

From the first track of the sixty minute record, Hiraeth, the curtain opens, like a dark opera, into a deeply painful world. This echoes the track’s title, a Welsh word, roughly meaning a profound grief, loss, or a longing for home. Karin’s voice is on the razor’s edge of despair, at losing something, ephemeral, unknown, but at the core of existence. Lustmord’s horrifying arrangement provokes images of a truly world-shattering event, transforming the world we once knew into something entirely terrible to behold.

Park’s vocals burst through the pain, on the precipice of damnation…

Park’s vocals burst through the pain, on the precipice of damnation. Yet there exists a tiny shred of hope, faint, but staying just beyond reach. I found myself drawn into this world, akin to the Morpheus evoked ‘desert of the real’ of the Matrix. One scorched beyond repair, blackened skies, annihilation on a colossal scale. A slowly pulsating sound emerges in Entwined, reminding me of the pulsing of Leviathan from the second Hellraiser film, emanating its corruption and filth across Hell.

In Song Of Sol, a subtle theme begins, much like the opening theme in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, prompting the question ‘what’s left to this world?’. In the closing track, Sele, the answer is given. As we fade to black and the closing credits run, we know this world is dead; there is no hope for man.

In the end, this is not for the faint of heart. It is not an easy listen, but still an interesting study in the apocalyptic sublime, beauty in the face of utter annihilation. Technically sound with an amazing vocal performance, just not something you can listen to more than once without having nightmares.

Label: Pelagic Records
Lustmord: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram
Karin Park: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Sean Haner