Review: ÄÄNIPÄÄ – Through A Pre-Memory

Nothing sits right. Everything is slithering out of something else; crooked amplifier spill dribbles from snot bubbles of electronic beat, while strings penetrate the ceiling like light squeezing through cracks in an otherwise pitch-black concrete cell. In fact, it sounds as though the whole record may have been composed in total darkness – the players makes sudden snatches for sounds that feel like the product of a sinister, broadened logic, as though the lack of visual cues coaxes the mind back inward to thrive off a cognitive attic of suppressed urges and perverse strands of thought.

As such, ÄÄNIPÄÄ pluck some truly disturbing moments out of the void. A particular case in point comes midway into “Muse”, when a horrendous scream from Alan Dubin (to which I should by now be accustomed, but it still induces a physical recoil) causes all of the other sounds to momentarily scuttle into the corners, leaving his words to curdle in emptiness. The second half of the track then proceeds to spew out all of the gunk that was swallowed back down in the first; O’Malley’s guitar turns into a crumbling, writhing path of power-chords, and the beats start to squeak as though trying to heave out of a cling film straightjacket. Later on, “Mirror Of Mirror Dreams” turns from broken radio emission into an anti-gravity stream of undulating string drones, and while they predominantly tangle into hideous tonal shapes, there are fractions of time where everything aligns, miraculously, into a radiant bouts of major key.

At 75 minutes it’s a long record; long enough for me to readjust to the darkness that renders all matter vaporous and illusionary, and even when the guitars adopt a very hard, gravel-esque texture during the opening “Watch Over Stillness / Matter Principle” – knocking into the percussive ensemble of tectonic murmurs and meteorite hits, arranged into an anti-rhythmic machinery stall – I’m fully prepared for when they mutate to become a wisp of distortion slinking through a distant air vent. Nothing is permitted to engage Through A Pre-Memory in forward motion; instead, it is a series of implosions and imaginary figments all crawling and bursting within the same small space, demonstrating the terrifying, mutative power of stasis and confinement.