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Those Things Beyond & Within

by Jo Montgomerie

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about

THOSE THINGS BEYOND & WITHIN is 45 minutes of itching minimalist noise from Manchester's JO MONTGOMERIE. Insular and melancholy, Montgomerie’s latest offering is heavy with mourning and cortisol. The tracks move through the noise floor like black mould, secretions of forlorn and introspective decay sodden with rain water and shifting like rust. Following on from a recent release with the Helen Scarsdale Agency and a steady stream of self-released ambient drone collections, sound designer & music teacher Montgomerie weaves together a collection of sinister tracks which creep through the void under the floorboards and emerge in the witching hour of a hazy post-industrial cityscape. Pipes rumble in the walls, the electrical hum of murmuring neighbour’s faulty wiring stutters through the night, and all the errant tones crackle and pulse in sympathy, becoming sticky with the mulch of the urban weird. 

Opener ‘focus on the constant’ hyperventilates around an overblown piano etude which pushes the mix apart at the seams, upending the creaking floor beneath through disorienting repetition. Slowly modulated by the increasing pressure, the track unhinges itself from the body of the instrument, drifting up through loose slates that topple off the roof. A pervasive sense of claustrophobia gives way to scratchy domestic paranoia, with ‘they all fell so easily’ building up to the edge of panic, before ‘i don’t always like what i see’ (following a brief abeyance) collapses into a ghostly exhale of cold air. Battering through the rain, this spectral rhythm builds itself back into a melancholic howl that moves through the murk of the night. 

The second side of THOSE THINGS BEYOND & WITHIN squalls to half-life through the sweeping radio hum of ‘i don’t always like what i see’. Sucked up through the chimney by rushing winds and past the larvae of wasps nests nestled in the eaves, it is followed by ‘…think we lost them’ which sees it all come creeping down again in a heap of decrepit skeletal arpeggiators; the cost of living has become too much to bear, the wind careens through a vacant stove and the pilot light grows weak. Closer ‘i only just realised’ bends sinister round the twist, a taser rhythm of staccato rain pecking on a reverberating pane of single glazing — a machine rhythm both alien and unnerving in its assault. A heavy weight on your chest, the anxiety building, it holds you down. Like sleep paralysis, the pressure from beyond pushes down within; you hear what sounds like a lung cracking, a desperate spectral groan and remember one needs air to breathe. The heavy drag of the undertow pushes at the brink but abruptly ends — the release is fleeting and relief remains elusive.

credits

released July 29, 2022

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noise / experimental electronics

A HISS AND A HUM NO HARM DONE

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