Review: Total Life – Radiator

It’s the serration that hits me first – the jagged lip of Radiator’s solid wall of hum, sanding down my ear canals as buzzes into my head. The force of the sound is inescapable, and my concentration is consumed instantly as the record cuts into full volume from the off; it’s a blizzard immersion that smothers all light and eradicates my senses of orientation and depth, and Radiator doesn’t so much assault my immediate space as become it. The moniker of “Total Life” initially feels strange for an entity that outright refuses organic movement, and where so much drone music carries even a slight respiratory up-and-down, the record is a cold and high velocity flat-line, like a slab of sheet metal coated in rust.

But persistence and familiarity change everything. With the absorption of my soundscape comes a dramatic shift in focus – my mind phases out the ragged attack and becomes wondrously aware of the movement and wholesome tonality beneath it. Just like an actual radiator (or an air con unit, or any device that emits a steady sound), I find myself calibrating to its inner silence, suddenly attuned to the activity that occurs in relation to my new constant. Comparisons to Eliane Radigue are justified for the way in which I move around the music; breathing it in, subconsciously homing in on molecular details, liberated to veer my concentration from the micro-interchange of high frequencies forming the outer buzz to the overtones that slip out between the curves of the music’s harmonic intimacy. For 40 minutes, Radiator becomes my everything.