Various Artists – Record of Shadows Infinite

Various Artists
Record of Shadows Infinite

The basic concept behind Record of Shadows Infinite is that the drone is the oldest form of music – mainly of a spiritual or reverential nature – and this pulse underlies all human existence. This immediately calls to mind Buddhist monks or the Aborigines as some prime examples of ancient cultures using droning sounds. But this album seeks to take it a step further and tap into the “eternal hum” that exists in nature at a sub-atomic level. While perhaps a worthy venture for a group of musicians to take up, this idea is so vast and so intangible that it is hard to imagine anyone being able to firmly grasp it.

If all of this sounds rather dry and academic, well, it is too some extent. Even NASA identifies with this concept of droning when last year the Chandra X-ray Observatory published findings of a black hole that emits a sound with a pitch equivalent to a B-flat. With this type of information it’s easy to agree that the drone does indeed exist at levels which humans cannot hear, but nonetheless influences everything we experience. Still, Record of Shadows Infinite may be biting off more than it can chew by attempting to make a direct link with this theory.

What you actually get on Record of Shadows Infinite is experimental at best and strangely avant-garde at its worst. The album is all about creating atmospheric soundscapes, but at times it is way too minimalist to accomplish much of anything. It almost plays out like one of those “creepy sounds” tapes people use to accompany a haunted house. The monotony of each track is overwhelming, and there is little emotional connection for the listener to the songs here – which unfortunately is one of the key things I think these artists were aiming at. While some of the musicians here do infuse some interesting sounds and techniques (House of Low Culture, Uneartly Trance), these moments are mostly lost in the shuffle.

The tracks on Record of Shadows Infinite are not innately bad, but they are extremely specific. If you aren’t thrilled by modern minimalist creations then this release will prove completely boring and quickly fade into mere background music. There is very little here for those not already interested in this style and even less to entice new fans. A compilation of this sort is not the best venue for attracting anyone not already familiar with the genre or at least some of the artists.