Dark Liquid Ribbon originally emerged from an unreleased archive, slinking out of ‘spontaneous lo-fi recordings and processing experiments’ which were first formed in 2012. Over time, Ekca Liena returned to and reshaped the two pieces to include improvised guitar-drones and analogue synths, making for an intense, driven, and dynamically-alive record.
Inside the music, muscle-heavy textures swell and pulse with some degree of menace and malevolence. Sounds slide around on the floor, hissing like a Cobra, and a slab of industrial noise hardens the record until it forms concrete. Clad in the clothes of the city, its architecture is imposing and sometimes overwhelming. The guitar’s distortion also helps in giving the music a threatening, acidic edge.
Strong and robust strands of harmonic DNA are woven into the record, but harmonies are few and far between. Because of this, the music splits apart: snippets of sounds pocket the tracks, producing divided contents which aren’t in their fullest form but in utero. This is all down to his improvised process, which began back in 2012, and the reshaping of the track produces some kind of musical mutation. Their growth has been stunted, but this makes for a more unpredictable listen, because unexpected sounds come and go and the music never stays in one place.
Dark Liquid Ribbon was born in spontaneity, so it was always going to have an unpredictable side, but it still makes sense. Thanks to the use of recurring drones, a dark thread runs through the music. Recurring sequences populate both tracks, but they’re buried deep within the mix so as to camouflage themselves. Softer moments help the listener to take a breath after the warfare of the title track: a tinkling piano, a breathing space. But even this is locked in a cycle, gaining momentum and building up to a dense wall of cacophonous sound. Ekca Liena builds his own skyscrapers.
The high towers are polluted with distortion, turning a sickly-black, and they shout of their power and status. Even though textures continually rise and crumble, the base is always there, ready to renew itself; it’s a record of stone and obdurate marble, powerful and intense, but with the musical quality of shifting sand, rising and falling. An unchanging drone sitting in the middle of a changing city.