Within Cataclysm, I hear that dystopian future thrown forth by the sci-fi of the 1970s: innumerable computers encased in dull grey chassis, outlandish cars hurtling into green horizon lines, hulking robots that resembled upturned fax machines with wheels affixed. Technology is omnipresent, but rather than shrinking into palm-sized devices and melting into the immaterial, it’s clunky and physical – a larger, more curvaceous incarnation of the computer technology of the time. With Oscillotron, synthesisers adorn every iota of stereo space, descending through portals of phaser-sweep, dispersing into reverb stardust. Technology hasn’t embedded itself into the planet; it’s ravaged it, devouring all glimmers of flora like a futuristic virus, leaving nothing but hard surfaces and harsh yellow lights.
The melodies here are both symphonious and miserable. Some of the tracks erupt into climaxes of disaster – minor keys arcing overhead in great flights of cyber orchestration, before showering down like acid rain – while others pulse in states of sustained tension, resembling the sensation of being watched from somewhere unseen. Despite their ominous taste, these melodies are often riddled by inflections of beauty: the glittering chords and solemn organs of “Twilight”, the panoramic drifting drones of “Mutation”, the carefully-crafted emptiness of “Terminal”. I picture astronauts ambling down shuttle corridors in crippling states of loneliness, or planets erupting in faded shades of 70s film poster paint. If the world must descend into a state of technological apocalypse, may it at least embody some of the glamorous astral misery of Cataclysm.