It is common to read about the mind-obliterating qualities of noise and its negative paths towards selfless meditation, but there is another undercurrent in its stark associations with bodily harm and the possibility to access some sort of outside within: a psychic reality that does not flow into oneness, but that violently multiplies every time we would like for it to give our consciousness a pause of relief. The psychedelic moment in noise is not an overwhelming sensation of unity but its opposite, the grating realization that the only Nature that awaits us at the end of the tunnel is an electric shriek irradiating from the technological heart of every city. It is not a familial figure – it is a bomb, a weapon made of digital fallout and materials older than any single one of us alive today; the streams that it creates in both our dreams and waking life are incessant, relentless, a myriad voices every time we open our mouths to speak, whether we are aware of it or not. Yuko Araki’s work showcases this fractured mental quality of noise and related genres like industrial music, often recalling the psychedelic explorations of German bands from the 1970s, but putting those warping soundscapes to work not in favor of the streamline to the universe without but of the similarly sized rupturing cascades of thoughts within.
End of Trilogy comes after her debut album and an EP from 2019 – simply titled II and I respectively – in which she similarly explores the transcendental power of harsh noise, constantly suggesting a sci-fi bent through track names such as “The Lathe of Eden” and “Hainish Hinterland”, both of which resemble Ursula K. Le Guin titles. The mixture of scientific, technological, natural, and sometimes even vaguely religious terms in track titles offer listeners an entryway into an experience of dissonance where opposites constantly clash, where contradictions offer no way out, where the sounds of nature are only recognizable because they are also the sounds of our mechanical imagination. Tracks like “Code of Sanctuary” or “Moonstroke in the Mountain” pitch melodic echoes against drones and whirring feedback, they highlight the uncanny vocal qualities of grinding electronics, they emphasize the sense that there is something tangible in free-falling bursts of computerized sounds. In contrast to a lot of music of this kind, tracks do begin and end, but their doing so feels less like a formal narrative or compositional necessity and more like a spontaneous coming-into-being. In this sense, the constant pull of seemingly opposite forces – the beat and the drone, the careful and the brazen, the clear and the entirely fuzzed out – gives End of Trilogy the flow of an improvised album.
Nonetheless, this flow is dense and irregular, like a nightmare or a vivid dream, articulating nonsense into entire worlds of meaning storming our brains at night for hours on end. Those strange constructs of unresolved contradictions and opposed feelings are the core of this album’s psychedelic approach, a glimpse within the wayward thought-processes of an everyday life whose primary connections to life are a thousand systems of exploitation of nature, whose referents of wonder are both the seemingly mechanical flapping of insect wings and the supernova we can only see thousands of years after the fact. The vitality of this connection between mind and world is fraught with aggression, with a fierce struggle to bring the gripping screams of that outside into the realm of intelligibility: tracks like “Inconstant Tangents”, “Positron in Bloom”, “Optical Landfall”, or “Dying of the Night” push the ear’s limits, but they are also underlined by adventure, by the sense that the violence of these thought-storms is not something to repress, but to explore. After all, it is also the violence of stars burning out, of entire planets consumed by tempests, and of asteroids scarring a world’s surface. This is the pyschedelic connection that makes Araki’s work so powerfully compelling: the result of that violence is the dust we are made of, and it is through it that we think and feel. (David Murrieta Flores)