NIMROD is the first we’ve heard from Max Paskine. It won’t be the last. Essentially minimalist in its dark design, NIMROD delves deeply into lost structures and underground cave systems that have been long abandoned, black tunnels that are hollowed out of foggy shipwrecks and soil-crusted harmonies, hammered into the earth by a series of striking beats that lie underneath thick bands of low pressure. Intrinsic to the music is an unfathomable depth; you can dig deep but you’ll never get to the bottom. Paskine hurls the listener into a ‘sound storm’; his abrasive, gritty clicks crust and oxidize as soon as it meets its nemesis of decay, while his cycling beats are lost phantoms of sound, spiraling out of control as they are whisked into the rumbling reverb left behind by a deadly tornado.
The black dirt of the ground is uprooted by the propulsive speed of the wind. Tiny clicks and glitch-strewn pebbles grind against the cars, chipping away at the paint until new stains cover the gleaming metal. French label VoxxoV Records are setting the pace when it comes to quality and detail – they should take pride in their continued pursuit of young artists and original music.
The music shakes and quakes under the strain of its own echoing rhythm, but it never looks like a war-zone. Everything is neatly ordered, or so it appears. In reality, thousands of microscopic atoms collide. The opening rhythmic crackles of ‘White Elephant’ dissolve as they tumble into the void, replaced by a thin ambient atmosphere that somehow shrinks, losing its substance with a lo-fi tone that borders on the anorexic. It gives the music an open, ethereal edge, a silk-thin curtain that drapes a pale, shallow veil over the music. The drone provides some room, not to mention some relief, from the random rain, and it also gives some contrast to the restrained, dirty loop. There isn’t much light, but the drone is given the freedom to roam. In the dark, accidental phrases bump into the rhythms, but they do so with laser-like accuracy. Hazards strike the music when you least expect it. Subterranean bass notes, cool drones and the heavy grinding of static carry their own dark intentions; space invaders that don’t seem to come in peace.
Something slumbers in the dark cave. It can’t be seen, but the clicks that rock softly against the grainy gravel trigger a warning. It tries to stand up; something monolithic despite its minimalist interior, grey-skinned like that of washed asphalt. Its structure and body weight can’t be fully comprehended or calculated, and the ghostly harmonies of ‘Fata Morgana’ do little to reassure the listener. The spectral harmony offers us the chance to get back onto the thin line, lighting the way like narrow neon lights on a dark stretch of road. And the music is perfect for a night drive.
Half formed melodies approach the music, but only half of their face is left intact. ‘Phantom Limbs’ loops its squirming melody, which is pinned down by the storm’s brutal power. ‘Failure’ takes it one step further as it instantly breaks up, as if it were a storm-weakened structure ready to give up the ghost. The crackles slowly and methodically eat away at its supper of slow drone, echoing through the ill-lit caverns. ‘Leviathan’ creeps around the drone’s undercurrents, the occasional creaking sound of a docked wooden boat hiding the rocking of the beast under the waters. Shy ripples tickle the oxygen of the surface. NIMROD is misty mystery music that leans into the black tunnel. In this dark place, its fate is sealed.