With its opening track, “Crystal Light,” Majeure‘s new album Termination Shock, descends into some refulgent underground cavern, inviting the listener to spelunk in the luminescent sonic labyrinth of its creator’s mind. At first these close quarters breed an inscrutable sense of unease, but as the title track gives over to pure ambient exploration the tape begins to reveal a nascent wonder, most purely realized on “Phase Rift.” The mood becomes more readily meditative as the listener plunges deeper into the album, revealing at the end of its serpentine tunnels a formless void. Its closer, “Mind Palace,” casts the listener finally adrift in the weightlessness of an infinite inner cosmos, to await fate without tether.
There are traces of the horror revivalist sounds favored in Majeure mastermind A.E. Paterra’s work with Zombi throughout – specifically in the album’s rhythms, which are frequently ominous or used to provide the tracks with a lurching or deliberate momentum. Over these haunting foundations, though, Paterra has imbued his soundscapes with airy synth tones that evoke everything from Badalamenti to Ashra. The end results capture a strange dichotomy between grim foreboding and precious beauty that doesn’t fit in comfortably with either the hauntology camp or the new age aesthetic so clearly referenced with the tape’s art. Though the inconsistency in moods between tracks keeps this album from being a fully cohesive listen, the perfectly realized atmospheres within individual compositions make it worth recommending.