Last year, we reviewed Delta, the follow-up to Theta; Πέτρα is an appendix to a trilogy that will end with next year’s Φ. Mai Mai Mai is evolving as rapidly as the protagonist of Splice, and each installment has grown more ominous. We like where this artist is headed.
Corpoc Records has pulled out all the stops for the physical release, a single-sided piece of vinyl with Andreco’s silkscreened art on the flip, accompanied by a 12-page photo book. It’s their way of saying that this set is something special, and indeed it is: a mesmerizing journey into a deep, dark cave. The inspiration is the idea that “cold stones turn into memory of places and time”. Whether a crumbling crag by the sea, a dilapidated ruin or a weather-worn wall, these stones bear witness. From memorial stones in the Jordan to the warning that “even the stones would cry out” (Luke 19:40), religion backs up this seeming animism through metaphor.
Field recordings folded into the music help to illustrate the central image. In “Pelagos” (“Sea”), salt water runs over stone, wearing away the surface; the implication is that the action unfolds outside the sphere of human attention. The agent of abrasion is more apparent than the subject. The growing pulse, crackling drones and increasingly manipulated sounds of wet turbulence imply memory may be transferred to water as well.
The highlight of the EP (responsible for over half its length) is the burgeoning, bass-dominant “Bassae”, whose title refers to the site of Apollo’s Temple. When watching the slow-moving teaser video, one gains a sense of strength and susceptibility. One proud pillar stands; others lie dormant, pieces of pieces, succumbing to gravity and time. They have witnessed millennia, outlasting the tall oaks. In some ways, they still speak; and Mai Mai Mai attempts to be their voice. This pure industrial piece has an inevitable forward thrust, representing stratification, accumulation, culmination. As ancient ruins are currently threatened by invading forces in Syria, the artist’s message could not be more timely; when we destroy stone, we destroy memory. Stones do cry out for justice. Buildings may be reduced to rubble, structures to stone, but symbols are stamped on their surfaces. (Richard Allen)