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UnicaZürn - Temporal Bends

UnicaZürn is a new project featuring Cyclobe’s Stephen Thrower and Arkkon’s David Knight. Blending improvisation with composition Temporal Bends is a disorienting and complex album, bringing together Knight’s guitar work, with Thrower’s saxophone and clarinet, mixed with an assortment of vintage keyboards, synthesizers and mellotron. Temporal Bends also features a rare appearance from the eighties hermetic chauntesse Danielle Dax on one track.

Temporal Bends consists of 4 tracks, with the key tracks being the lengthy sound excursions of the ‘The Temporal Bends’ and the fantastic ‘Six Fabulous Mutilations’. Knight and Thrower have cited water as a key theme of Temporal Bends; it was recorded near the Thames and near the Sussex coast. That's maybe why the sound of Temporal Bends is so immersive. Temporal Bends is still and rough, deep and shallow a never-ending ebb and flow that navigates the oceans of the mind.

The opening track ‘The Temporal Bends’ is delivered in four segments. ‘Ship of Shadows’ features shimmering analogue synths, sounding likes a series of foghorns on a vessel cutting a path through icy glaciers, It’s soon replaced by pulsing rhythmic electronics of the second movement, ‘Tunnel’. The rhythm here appears to be based on a heavily processed voice, offset by gentle eerie floating synth sounds. As it continues squelchy, juddering sounds are introduced, with feint shuddering clarinet squawks. There’s a distinct feeling of dread and tension to be felt here. The following part, ‘Timefrieze’, at least on the surface appears to returns to calmer waters with elongated synth notes set against processed noises. You get the feeling of being wholly submerged in water, disorientated, as snatches of half-heard voices float past. ‘Black Gas Mask’, the final segment, features Thrower’s clarinet playing, its low notes cut like a ghostlike foghorn, over droning electronics.

Unlike the submerged feeling of the ‘The Temporal Bends’, ‘Nautilus’ seems to rise from the surface. The opening moments pick up on the dripping, pulsating electronics of Cyclobe, as it quickly achieves a rich cinematic quality with its soaring atmo-synths and melancholic piano score. As Knight’s distorted guitar lead kicks in it vaguely recalls Bobby Beausoleil’s masterful score for Anger’s Lucifer Rising film, before cutting to split channels offering melodic keys or stabbing piano chords. It then plummets downwards with dredging, deep drones. Thrower's clarinet that features here and on much of Temporal Bends evokes the same melancholia that permeated much of Coil's Stolen and Contaminated Songs.

The opening minutes of ‘Six Fabulous Mutilations’ sets fragments of sampled voices to blurred, bleeping electronics and reverbed floating synthwork. Like most of Temporal Bends it doesn’t take too long before it burrows deeper bringing derangement and disquiet in equal measure. On ‘Six Fabulous Mutilations’ it takes the form of buzzing electronics, static, processed voices, mammoth shudders and rhythmic clutter.

David Knight has been a long-time musical collaborator of Danielle Dax, who still provides the soundtracks to Dax’s spoken word performances. ‘Jack Sorrow’, the final track on Temporal Bends is something of an anomaly as it’s akin to an old English nursery rhyme, hauntingly recited by Danielle Dax in quiet, sinister tones, rounded by eerie sinister, effects.

Temporal Bends captures elements of the duo’s own work, with the loose freefom nature of the Amal Gamal Ensemble, the live improvising group, that counts Knight and Thrower and others such as Karl Blake, Orlando, Gavin Mitchell in their revolving line-up. Unlike the Amal Gamal Ensemble who until now have only existed in the live arena, as UnicaZürn, Knight and Thrower have been working in the studio producing this deranged and quite beautiful album. It may have taken a number of years to complete but it’s been well worth the wait. Recommended. For more information go to www.cyclobe.com or www.myspace.com/unicazurnofficial