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Fathom artist Robert Rich joins underground sound design legend B.LUSTMORD (aka Brian Williams) for an extended journey inspired by the title and the hypnotic minimalism of ANDREI TARKOVSKY'S mesmerizing future/fiction film Stalker. The album reveals the ambiguity lurking at the fringes of perception. A provocative new contribution to the growing 'dark ambient' catalogue. Fathom artist Robert Rich joins underground sound design legend B.LUSTMORD (aka Brian Williams) for an extended journey inspired by the title and the hypnotic minimalism of ANDREI TARKOVSKY'S mesmerizing future/fiction film Stalker. The album slowly reveals a psychoactive soundscape of shape-shifting shadows, dense subharmonic massings, subtle drone textures and ambiguous sound events lurking at the fringes of perception. Online music reviewer David Spalding says "Unlike the majority of Rich's previous work, this is a consistently dark, troubling vision ... an eerie, unnatural fantasia that borders on the sinister. The various movements flow one into another like a forward march to the center of the unknown, take the listener past scenes of edginess and loss, a haunted landscape punctuated by echoes. Stalker is a poetic trip into another dimension, both macabre and transcendent. I suspect that this will be one of the top ambient albums of 1995."
The seemingly unlikely pairing of Robert Rich, he of slow, gradually evolving electronic music, and B.Lustmord, creator of doomy, ambient industrial experiments, has yielded a sublime musical entity known as Stalker. Having found a middle ground, it integrates Rich's intelligent ambient style and Lustmord's more threatening, even horrific industrial sound. Though their fundamental aesthetics might seem at odds, the joining of forces has yielded a synergistic whole which transcends their individual genius.
Stalker derives its title from the classic philosophical film of the same name by Andrei Tarkovsky. Yet this visionary music is not intended to be a surrogate soundtrack. The music, in fact, makes few specific references to the film. The two creations do, however, share the common theme of a mysterious voyage. The film, set in an unidentified near future and a familiar but unnamed locale, depicts a forbidden journey through "the Zone," a region closed by government officials to all unauthorized personnel. In the heart of the Zone, according to rumor, is a room where everyone's most secret wish and desire will be fulfilled. The Stalker is a guide, one who takes those who are willing to risk everything to the room at the center of the Zone. Using no special effects or conventional gimmickry, Tarkovsky creates haunting atmospheres by inference and subtle innuendo. Likewise, this sonic creation by Lustmord and Rich takes the listener through a similarly mystifying Zone.
This is music for aural exploration. The two composers create an alternate reality, a unique territory from an unknown universe. Like Tarkovsky's film, the music moves slowly and the subject matter is abstract. Sonic events flow seamlessly, eluding identification. One of the few familiar images is that of water, with its symbolic evanescence and transience. While the music is not about "stalkers" or "serial killers," it has the same darkness and sinister foreboding implied by such terms. The music is evocative, but never precise. Instead, the music invites the listeners to participate in the creative process and find their own extra-musical vision. This is a kind of head candy, a sound design project for the adventurous listener. There are no hooks, no catchy melodies or danceable rhythms. New ambient, but also much more. Psychoactive sound, a sonic expedition.