Personally I have dipped into the work of Israeli instrumentalist / vocalist Tamar Singer when her albums have come through for review in the past but they normally go to another to cover. That writer unavailable this time around it comes to me to get a bit further into her musical world with the 3rd project we have received from the artist to go alongside Zeresh and Cruel Wonders. This is the debut work from Necromishka and sees Tamar teaming up with Michael Zolotov of Kadaver. Considering the band name you may well expect an exercise in hellish and indeed necrotic blackness but the name to a certain extent is quite a misnomer. This is dark ambient and consists of fragmentary soundscapes that take in other aspects such as subtle industrialism and even neo-folk as it passes by in a sometime gentle but not always unthreatening fashion. Having heard the aforementioned projects it does tie in to a large extent, Zuresh being a fuzzy tableau of shimmering acoustic instrumentals and ambient melancholy and Cruel Wonders self-described Gentle Doom, poetic dark-wave and folk. Let’s enter Necromishka’s world and see where it leads us.
The artwork does allude to that unsettling feeling I mentioned and is fantastical yet paints an easy to understand picture of a person huddled in a corner and quite nervous as a teddy bear hangs from the rafters of the band logo. Interesting. Musically we flutter in to ‘Best Of Prey’ like a moth drawn to a flame. Strange vocals sound like they have been slowed down and mumble, not making any sense but possibly conveying an alien nursery rhyme which our cover subject may well be mumbling to calm themselves down. There is a strident guitar pick up and a feeling of danger comes with it; could it be a metaphor for a fracturing nervous state? Longer insight is gained with ‘Paradise (Access Denied)’ as guitar acoustically shimmers into existence and melody takes shape and jangles away like something from a strange Lynchian noir bar scene. There’s something reminiscent of the main melody although it is surrounded by distortion and finally putting my finger on it for some reason film theme and song The Crying Game comes into my head. Ominously the distortion follows into the foreboding ‘Blood Room’ and my mind takes me to the horror of some Japanese splatter movie as red becomes primary colour in the deep rumbling tones of the track. There is a feel of industrial experimentation here as it builds into a harsher throbbing gristle of sound rounded off with a calmness at the edges as the two forces almost seem to joust for control. Low moans haunt quietly in the background; well maybe they could just as equally be in my imagination. The portal opens and something battles to break through, we are in a place that is going to raise hell literally if it succeeds. Deep breathe but no particular let up. ‘Excelsior’ has ghostly voices amidst contorted sounds. If a drum beat were added, something that is missing and fair enough not particularly needed, we could well have a martial industrial track here, its close enough without it and deeply unsettling.
Imagination runs riot ‘Them Roots’ spread, I have an image of a gnarly tree and visions from a film like Antichrist in my head now. This is very soundtrack orientated and it is easy to conjure ghastly images with it, perhaps to the dark and strange ambience of a place like Aokigahara the suicide forest. ‘Evil’ extends the guitar work strumming away and vocals now bring a folky essence with clean singing adding a mournful quality and paradoxically adding some light to the darkness. Bristling energy and an electrifying charge fills up ‘Harm’s Way’ as things meander, distort and pulsate away and then we reach conclusion of this strangely intense journey with ‘There’s No Space Between Us’, a mesmerising finale where guitars take on a dulcimer like sound repeating like a mantra and really getting beneath the skin.
How I have interpreted this in real time and after several listens could well be a million miles from what the artists intended. There may not even be any dialogue and you are simply meant to go with the flow but this is an album that is guaranteed to take you places and I feel like it spoke to me. The overriding emotions are tense but there is a fragility within and beauty as much as horror. Take a walk yourself via the link below but be prepared, the doorways of the mind this unlocks may not be places you want to go.
(7.5/10 Pete Woods)