Rare and out-of-print disc from the killer Maryland label Shadowgraph, who was releasing cutting-edge black industrial and horror electronics before the sound became somewhat in vogue around 2010; other artists that were featured on the imprint's small but kick-ass roster included Aderlating, Gnaw Their Tongues, Welter In Thy Blood, and Aphelion. I worshipped this label. Reunion Psyche was the only album from this obscure outfit, a 2010 disc with seventeen songs of nightmarish ambience and bizarre electronic soundscapery. There is virtually no information on this artist anywhere online, aside from confirmation that Manifest was the work of Gokce Gokcen, a professional graphic designer who seems to have since disappeared from the digital realm. But this one album left behind for adventurous listeners delivers one weird trip through indefinable territory.
Opening up the case, it appears that there is some kind of MEDICAL?? narrative behind the album, but it's hard if not impossible to glean anything concrete from the track notes and morbid artwork.
For nearly an hour, Manifest begins to explore this very strange underworld with an initial blur of found sounds, random voices, moody violins, folky singing and atonal strings, early on creating this dreamy meandering soundscape of haunting feminine singsong, effects-warped samples and weird looping noises, deep rumbling drones and trippy sound-collage; both opener "I'm Home (Intro)" and "Coma" pull back a curtain on a bizarre folk-flecked post-industrial world that expands with each step and each new track we follow them on. Hideous bitcrunched noise and eruptive distortion suddenly rip apart that dreamlike state, "River Blindness (Onchocerciasis)" belching out an increasingly nightmarish mass of sound , those vocal and melodic elements from before getting wrecked and warped and blasted with some kind of terrible cosmic radiation. These parts of Reunion Psyche lead into fearful, oppressive states of being; it sounds like one of those voices from earlier is now ghasping for air as the gerinding distorted noise blasts out of its corroded lock-groove. All of the songs on the album are relatively short in length, so these detours and deviations happen fast: that gruesome noise is swept away by new, mewling voices and bizarre crackling textures, agonal loops of voice and electronics and sound weave together into a hallucinatory whole. On "My Deuced Mother", we're suddenly introduced to a berserk combination of death metal-esque guttural vocalizations and Nurse With Wound-like soundplay, miserable minor key piano notes clanking in the background - it's not the first "what the fuck" moment on the disc, but signals where things head into progressively weirder and more hellish environs. The aching ululating vocals and dread-filled synth-strings that follow evoke mystery and malevolence, "The Uncommon Birth (Meir Zahl Theme)" resembling a jarring muation of later Sutcliffe Jugend and Diamanda Galas, sorta. While the musical elements and the prominent main vocals and instrumental arrangements are fixed in the foreground, there is a constant backdrop of eerie whispers and distant shrieks, cut-up orgasmic voices and frightening environmental recordings, jammed radio signals and shifting metal, bird song and creaking wood, bestial grunts, garbled electronics, and smeasrsof backwards sound, room ambience and grotesque multi-voiced gyrations, tribal drums and insane incomprehensible incantations, blats of pitch-black synth vomit and what sounds like a Satanic gangbang, much of this sound and music occuring all the way out on the borders of your perception. The tracks blur together, the album pushing forward in increasingly abominable form; this thing seriously fucked me up when I listened to it in my dark office at 2 a.m. in the morning. Gave me the creeps.
After listening to Reunion Psyche a couple of times, it dawned on me that this music bears somewhat of a resemblance to the occulted noisescapes of Anthony Mangicapra's Hoor-paar-Kraat project. It bathes in a similar pool of fetid, obscene sound amalgamations and absurd contortions, the way that these pieces carefully wind their tentacles around you and then pull you inward to a more disquieting, at times horrifying, field of sound. by the time I'm in the midst of the demonic churn of"Porn", my nerves are permanently rattled. The scariest moments of irr. app. (ext.) are another possible reference point, or possibly what could result from a collaboration between Nurse With Wound and Gnaw Their Tongues, with their target endpoint being somewhere in the lower depths of Hell.
Even when Manifest finds a somewhat hypnotic, clabnking groove to slip into (like "Obsession"), you still hear all of these different things going on behind you and below you and around you that you can't quite make out but they sound potentially very hideous and unwelcome. It's a singular experience, for me at least. It wasn't until after I heard the entire album that I figured out how this fits alongside the label's other, blackened sonic nightmares. But it does. Uncomfortably so.
Released in digipak packaging in a limited edition of 260 copies.