Anemone Tube - Golden TempleAnemone Tube is the solo project of Stefan Hanser and he brings an idiosyncratic approach to location recordings. And it's an effective and clever one too. Edited and looped they form the source material to the tracks to which according to the liner notes he merely adds synths and feedback. On the surface and to the casual listener Golden Temple might sound like dark ambient and industrial harsh noise. But there's much more to it though. On the evidence of Golden Temple he is more of a dark ambient and noise composer shaping the specific site recordings giving equal space to a soundtrack element. Whether intentional or not, at times the looped readings of the location recordings become almost meditative in delivery. Golden Temple uses industrial, dark ambient and power noise in an interesting manner, coupled to a well thought out overriding concept, illustrated by quotations and artwork in the cover booklet.
The Golden Temple is the third in a four part of releases of what Anemone Tube call the "suicide series". The concept relates to social and industrial development which has gone hand-in-hand with self-destructive tendencies. It's been an all encompassing concept drawing on the fantastical writings of H.P. Lovecraft, the apocalyptic vision of J.G. Ballard, the critical thought of film director Michael Haneke and the anime films of Hayao Miyazaki. The previous releases, Dream Landscape and Death Over China, used field recordings of China, and Golden Temple, which is heavily influenced by Pasolini's Medea, furthers this concept with its focus on Japan with recordings from Tokyo, Kyoto and Tojinbo, as well as recordings from Nanjing and Shanghai that featured on Death Over China.
'L`Homme Et Les Sirenes' is built around field recordings of cities: the revved up engines of a city gridlocked with cars, sounds of pedestrians pounding polluted streets, with added squeaks and creaks. There's an inbuilt harshness in its sound sources but they're looped and edited in such a way they take on their own form. It's almost meditative, as they pass between channels, only to reappear. It's industrial in the truest sense of the word. Just as Throbbing Gristle remarked after completing recording of The Second Annual Report that they had merely captured the environmental sounds outside their Death Factory studios, for Anemone Tube it is the sound of Japanese cities. It gets progressively harsher as it continues, to the point the urban field recordings are ravaged by a wild windswept undercurrent. It's technological progress taken into the realms of destruction.
The power electronics dimension of Anemone Tube is given flight on a number of tracks. Queasy harsh electronics and piercing feedback wails are sucked up into the vortex that is 'Apocalyptic Fantasy'. But it is in 'Tower Of Evil (The Ultimate Truth)' that the Golden Temple of the album's title is referenced. Relating to the 54 story skyscraper of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower that pierces the Tokyo skyline it stands as a shining example of the rampant consumerism and commercialisation worshipped by Japanese workers. From a spoken sample it lunges into a disturbing maelstrom of sound comprising multiple sound sources. Dense layers take in sampled voices, electronics and feedback with none given overall prominence. It is pure overload. And yet, at the hands of Anemone Tube, it's not chaotic but a complex juxtaposition of sounds, and like 'Apocalyptic Fantasy', it is formed over a brooding synth backbone, ebbing out on voice samples.
The following track, 'Negation Of Myth', shares an affinity with Tunnels of ĀH's Buddhist inspired post-industrial electronics, with the cyclical looped construction of ominous ambient synthwork and rippling crunchy textures creating something almost meditative. The less confrontational aspect of Anemone Tube is furthered on 'Sea Of Lights (Golden Temple)', and within its shimmering electronics it acts as an awakening, bringing forth a brightness and lightness, absent from the preceding tracks. There's a return to the all-encompassing sound on 'Anthropocene - The Dark Abyss Of Time' but here shorn of feedback, the harshness is much more restrained and calm, revisiting some of the earlier location recordings. Environmental concerns caused by rampant progress in the form of industrialisation, are questioned before it once again finishes with film dialogue.
The final two tracks under the title Arkadía - Dreamland And Myth, which act as a sequel to the album, traverse into spiritual realms. The suffocating and heaving cyclical waves of 'I, Death, Rule Even In Arcadia' reimagines the earlier 'L`Homme Et Les Sirenes' in a more chaotic fashion, before the final track 'Tojinbo - Tranquil Sea Of Equanimity' which was recorded, edited and mixed by Dave Phillips of Schimpfluch-Gruppe. Based on field-recordings by Anemone Tube from Tojinbo in Japan at the hands of the Swiss sound artist it is a restrained piece of looped and edited sounds and textures. The final section is much more ambiguous with its heightened tension created by a cut-up of heaving electronics, fizzing drones and distant voices. Throbbing Gristle may have attempted to misstep the listener when they were photographed at a beauty spot above the cliffs at Beachy Head, but for Anemone Tube the location recordings on the cliffs at Tojinbo - a popular suicide spot for disturbed Japanese people - play an intentional and intrinsic role in Golden Temple. Suicide, for Anemone Tube, is part of the psychological impact of consumerism, environmental effects and technological progress. We are all intrinsically responsible and guilty for the sorry state of affairs the world is in.
I've only been vaguely aware of Anemone Tube due to their involvement in The Epicurean festivals but on the basis of the Golden Temple they prove to be an important part of the current post-industrial lineage. Conceptual, innovative - Golden Temple is mastered by James Plotkin - their site-specific recordings rendered by industrial, noise and synths are powerful and striking and well worth your time. Golden Temple is released by Raubbau as a 6 panel digifile with 12-page booklet of artwork, quotations and poem. For more information go to Raubbau