reviewed by Jack Derricourt
Finished watching Stranger Things? Don’t know what to do now that now that Mike and Eleven have turned into zombies and eaten their friends? Don’t worry, just fucking with those of you who haven’t seen the epic ending yet.
If you loved the drained-out, synth-driven, moody atmosphere of Survive from Austin, Texas — cough intro title song cough — then you’ll be just in the mood for Babel’s most recent release: This Is the Sacred Fire.
Babel (the ever-present Jakob Rehlinger of Arachnidisc records) is no stranger to the sounds of the nostalgic event horizon. The Grid Series is a captivating exploration of all things 80s and synthesized; it sounds like the most artificial breakfast cereal you could put in your mouth, covered in vibrant Tron colours.
The album is full of ghostly voices. Synths wave and wander in the back of tracks, while melodic, melancholy instruments parade throughout to highlight the strange space you find yourself in. Everything is very intimate, with the saxophone holding onto most of the echo.
What will stick out, beyond the godly noises and droning artifice, is that the texture is the focus on these recordings. Painting a picture always works best with form and rigidity pushed out of the way a bit, and Babel gets that right on these sacred concoctions.
A couple of quick notes:
“PANZER TANZER” is a quake of heady distortion and quivering sax lines.
“DER JAGER” is the winding wind of saxophone and the programmed dawn coming together to share stories.
“OMNE IGNOTUM” is what I want them to play at my zen funeral.
So, if you want music that suggests things going bump in the night in Indiana in the 1980s, go buy the Stranger Things OST. Then, grab Babel’s This Is Sacred Fire because it’s damn good.
Top Track: “OMNE IGNOTUM”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)