Various Artists - The Outer Church (4 stars)

Pye Corner, Embla Quickbeam and Old Apparatus amongsts artists on this dreamlike experimental compilation

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The Outer Church - Various Artists

(Front & Follow)

An electrical storm strikes. The lights flicker and the radio sputters into life: ‘Hikers camping on the Sussex Downs have reported strange green lights above Brighton. An anonymous caller has alerted us to the existence of an “uncanny audio-visual event” called The Outer Church. Might there be a connection to the mysterious phenomena? Stay tune - ' The radio cuts out and the room is plunged into darkness. I hear the letterbox flap, followed by a muffled thump on the floor. The bare light bulb buzzes back into life and I notice a package lying by the door. Cautiously, I open it and a double CD slips out, its black and silver cover bearing the legend The Outer Church. I'm startled, but eager to investigate this mysterious cult led by music writer/blogger Joseph Stannard, and the acts which have gravitated to the Outer Church’s regular South Coast club night wyrdings over the past four years.

The ritual begins as Embla Quickbeam's 'Crystal Sea' emerges from the shadows in a fog of ghost frequencies and spectral voices. Grumbling Fur's pagan synth pop resembles Depeche Mode hymning the solstice, while Kemper Norton's transmits folk song fragments through haunted machines. Flickering synths and Hindi vocal loops dance dervish-like through Angkor Wat's 'I Hope He Had' before Position Normal's wheezing sampler sputters out broken shards of guitar, telephonic tones and dubbed out radar blips. Pye Corner Audio takes John Carpenter to
's Megacity Four, while Graham Reznick essays a sleazy Numanoid march through a 16-bit cityscape. Elsewhere we have eerily beautiful string phantasms (Old Apparatus's 'Patter'), melancholy pop reveries (Hong Kong In The 60s' 'Summer's Bird') and the Cold War bunker dub-techno of Lanarkshire's Broken Three. Over seedy red-neon throbs Baron Mordant and Mr Maxted release ectoplasmic wraiths into the night sky. The disturbed whispers and martial drums of Vindicatrix's 'Huemmmana', meanwhile, are deeply sinister.

The Outer Church is expanding its mission. Open your third eye and ascend

Baron Mordant & Mr. Maxted - Roehampton By Day

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