Collapsing Horizons is an album for audiophiles, possibly the kind of people that own vinyl and unnecessarily large hi-fi systems. It’s handy then that this LP is available (at the time of writing) in beautiful limited edition transparent-with-white-splatter.
Many of those who care enough about music (and structured sound in general) may often have found themselves looking for something to satisfy a highly specific need. Those into fringe genres such as grindcore, harsh noise, or even a combination of the two, dubbed ‘noisegrind’ (for which as such a unique/acquired taste/underground genre amalgam arguably only has a handful of respectable releases) may have found themselves there looking for something even more extreme than, say extreme metal. A few people will have hit gold on discovering Insect Warfare’s final release, and for a different few, this album will be exactly what they are looking for.
Needless to say, this album is somewhere different entirely on the map, though it does have notable noise influences. It is clearly well thought out, structured and includes much that will appeal to both a wide audience, and those with highly specific tastes. Even those with certain ASMR triggers may be in luck with some of the background overlaid sounds, produced in stellar crystal-clarity and giving the impression of the vast, encompassing fabric of space. Certain effects, timbres and textures hold this album together as one cohesive structure, though there are many other sounds creeping in (quiet high-register piano with reverb, keys, strings and all manner of less commonplace features). The electronic percussion is a highly notable quality that, thankfully, features frequently, in a deep, booming, but never overpowering way. It serves a similar purpose as in Jinsang’s beat tape ‘Solitude‘, another beautiful late-night accompaniment for studying, perhaps.
Collapsing Horizons for the most part doesn’t paint a soundscape nearly as bleak at its title might suggest, but what a soundscape it paints. It is dynamic but flows, following a central theme. It is moody and brooding at times, but shifting, reflective and unimposing. It is difficult to describe something so abstract, the qualities of which will appeal to different individuals with different thoughts, feelings and interests in different ways. Still, it is an ambient album like Gas’ ‘Pop‘, but slower in pace, moodier, and more intense. Beats are more prominent and a variety of other sounds creep in.
Regardless, this is an album to listen to alone, late at night with minimal dim lighting while the listener, perhaps, collects their thoughts after a busy week. Close the windows, drown out the noise and get lost in this album. A good sound system is a must. Alternative suggestion: listen to this album while travelling on a long journey with noise-cancelling and/or isolating headphones. Get pensive and reflect. Music can be so much more than just music, more than something beautiful that augments one’s surroundings and emotional experiences as they travel to a different place. Music can be inspiring and life-affirming without even the need for words.
‘Collapsing Horizons’ is out now via n5MD.
This Tangent article was written by Fabian Basker, a GIGsoup contributor