HANNUM, TERENCE  Spectral Life  LP   (Shelter Press)   23.00

     As a member of blackened kosmische architects Locrian, Terence Hannum has had a hand in harnessing some of the coolest, darkest synthscapes and blasts of sonic desolation I've listened to in recent years. When he's working solo, though, Hannum's work can take more minimal, amorphous forms. Now sold out from the label, Spectral Life was one of the first solo releases to appear from Terence Hannum, a member of Chicago-based kosmische crush ensemble Locrian. With sleeve art that draws from his visual art that is largely obsessed with strange abstract visions of hair, this Lp is a stunning abyssic zone-out, the core sounds are for the most part the same as Locrian's, drawing heavily from vintage space music, dark synthesizer-based soundscapes and carefully crafted blats of jet-black drone, and fans of that band's work will find much of he same dark, amorphous grandeur here. But Hannum does give this Lp a slight twist, the first side "Invocation Of Deities" rumbling forth on a billowing, faintly luminescent fog of murky percussive reverberations and distant metallic clank. It's got this fantastic malevolent vibe from the start, those swirling gusts of metallic rumble and rattle buried beneath a heavy blackness, and as it unfolds across its thirteen minute duration, Hannum unleashes a pulsating electronic drone that drills through the muted ambience, leading the side through some interesting shifts into looping cosmic chorales and darkly gorgeous synthdrift, evolving from a minimalist horror-movie score into something more unearthly, slipping downward in a beautiful multi-part finale that at one point resembles classic Tangerine Dream as heard through a wall of black soil, muffled and ghostly.

     When the other track "Total Dissolution" suddenly crashes in on the b-side, it's as a jarring din of crashing cymbals, abrasive metallic noise that seems to be looped round and round, circling swells of ominous droning drift. It's still quite eerie though, settling into an odd, almost ritualistic feel as the sounds continue to loop and circle each other, and creepy EVP-like voices surge out of the background, building to this swarming hive of clattery chaos that eventually blossoms into another powerful synth-drone. The second half of the side is gorgeous, transformed into a gleaming, noctilucent wash of midnight psychedelia, seraphic voices stretched wide over waves of distorted guitar and clustered keyboards.

     Issued in a limited edition of four hundred copies.