After collaborating with Spheruleus on a beguiling album for Time and Language earlier this year, Pleq + Hiroki Sasajima keep the creative fires burning with the menacing CD-3″ witch-hunt. Spheruleus may be absent, but his positivity would seem out of place.
The phrase “witch-hunt” may have begun in antiquity, but has come to mean a ferreting out of undesirables by any institution possessing authority: governments, armies, churches, politicians. To be at the center of such a hunt is a harrowing experience: one watches helplessly as one’s life is dissected, then reevaluated with a more suspicious tint. In like fashion, witch-hunt grows swiftly from intimation to intimidation, from suggestion to accusation.
While the sound sources (electronics and field recordings) may be similar to those found on the previous excursion, these proceedings are much darker in timbre. It’s amazing how threatening the sound of running water can sound when accompanied by a low-register drone. Instead of the pretty brook, it becomes the stream by the lake in which suspected witches are thrown. (Sink and you’re innocent; float and you’re a witch.) The mental state of the accused is not the only darkness here; the accuser’s mind is clouded as well. Layer upon layer of drone are heaped upon the proceedings like lying witnesses. The oppressive quality of the center section allows little light to enter.
Is all lost? A scarab sound emerges at the halfway point like a scavenger scuttling over the face of the sentencer. In these proceedings, evil is not always found where it is expected. As the timbre grows slightly lighter toward the end, could it be that the accuser has relented, or only that the soul has ascended and the victim has transcended recrimination through martyrdom? The possibility of escape may be only a phantasm: the cruelest joke of all. (Richard Allen)