The subject of time has proven to be a gushing borehole for creative types. From Proust reminiscing and reflecting upon what once was, to William Basinski evincing humanity’s decaying mortality, artists have clung to this passing intangibility with fingers of butter and palms pooled with sweat. On Innersurface, Cristiano Deison and Andrea Gastaldello (Mingle) use their own time to inspect the universe’s internal clock.
Innersurface is the final part in a triptych that has travelled down roads littered with oblivion (Everything Collapse(d) and fading pulses (Weak Life), The concluding chapter focuses instead on something far more corporeal – the primordial ooze from which life shuffles. Certain reference points are lit, not least the recent work of Terrence Malick, who in Voyage of Time extended the 20 minute universe-birthing scene from Tree of Life to feature film length. In similar fashion, Deison and Mingle patiently build from quiet, unassuming, cimmerian drones into shards of glinting sunlight that struggle to materialise over the horizon.
The album’s hypnotic rhythms provide a sense of merging, of forging something greater. Static bursts into symphonic life like synaptic explosions hurrying along emerging corridors. Flawed human percussion appears, clunky and rattling, before being replaced by seismic, methodical, and controlled electronic beats. Robotic voices struggle for language. “Reverse” seems to echo the ailing cry of those longing for a dying craft to be resuscitated. Chains clank and crash repetitively, signalling a past dreamt of but lost. The listener sinks back into the mire, into an abyss that is equal parts Nietzsche and Cameron. A heartbeat forces its way out of the gloom.
Evolution is being mapped non-linearly. The duo at the helm are sonic cartographers of our existence with a loose handle on time.
“Meltdown” grinds into existence with industrial growls reminiscent of Ben Frost’s wolves. This industry, however, is alien and programmed. No human frailty exists here. The same cannot be said of “It Was…” which is fraught with the melancholy dip of finger tips against ivory as visible breaths sink into a pale ground. An enfeebled flag gifts true strength to a heart pumping with longing.
While Malick’s interest may lie in the contemplation of evil’s presence (and its initial baby steps on our bucking space sphere), Deison and Mingle have no such ruminations. They recognise its existence in every smear of sludge, every fetid fingernail, and every writhing life-form silently shrieking with impalpable terror. They open their arms and embrace the Lynchian arthropodal thrashing that most of us would prefer to bury. (Jon Buckland)