Before I attempt to write a review for an album, I like to listen to the music as many times as possible before the review needs to be submitted. This was the case for “Sufficiently Disconcerting.” An intriguing collaboration between two experimental electronic musicians, Xqui and SEODAH (Sound Effects Of Death And Horror) Sometimes, however, the location, environment, atmosphere and your personal mood combine to make an albums first listen into an experience, and occasionally, a surprisingly unique experience.
I’d planned the working day around a lunchtime visit to an unspoilt Chalk Downlands Church, dating back to the Anglo-Saxon period. I’d already wolfed down my lunch at elevenses, so when I parked up I decided to scroll through my Bandcamp feed for a suitable soundtrack. The cover art of “Sufficiently Disconcerting” has a blurred and distorted, maybe possessed, face with unfeasibly large mouth, howling out a twisted demonic scream. Although it was a Summer day, it had been raining off and on all morning, before deciding to settle on a persistent blanket of drizzle. The monstrous face with contorted scream seemed appropriate, so headphones on and hood up.
“Sufficiently Disconcerting” consists of six soundscapes. As I walk through the lynch gates and follow the path around the outside of the church the choral drone of the opening track “Timete” perfectly accompanies the experience. A mix of voices and synth strings creates an excellent ominous atmosphere it feels like an opening scene to a Hammer Horror. “An American Man Stole My Balloon” mixes vocal samples with unbalanced and unhinged beeps, beats, sound effects and synth pads. It’s a split personality of a song, a musical Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, slightly uncomfortable and strangely hypnotic.
Whilst walking around the outside of the old church, looking for any interesting features, soundtracked by the gentle ambient drones and floating synthesized voices of “Exultate” I’m half expecting to bump into a spectral monk or at least to disturb a murder of crows.
The eleven minutes of the dreamy, whimsical “Probiscus (wins by a nose)” hinged around a gentle bass bleep, snatched piano and panning pads finds me inside the Church. The vivid wall art, dating back to the early Norman or possibly late Anglo-Saxon’s is extraordinary, running all around the walls, depicting biblical scenes like a story book. Studying the scenes and taking photos to “Oculi Mei” with the re-emergence of the synthesized voices, unusual effects and warm string sound was a moment of pure joy.
The final track on “Sufficiently Disconcerting” is an epic piece running to nearly 30 minutes. “Hallucigenetic” is loosely divided into three movements and is almost a stand alone album. It brings together all the musical themes. The pianos, the voices, the synth strings, pads and unusual sound effects, but also adds an Occult horror sounding rock guitar and organic drums, before drifting into a beautiful, mysterious electronic soundscape. With an afternoons work looming I left the Church to the strains of the fuzzed out guitar. It was a particularly pleasant lunch break scored by a delightfully unique musical experience.
“Sufficiently Disconcerting” is an interesting mix of ambient soundscapes and drone nightmares, designed as a journey. It’s sounds cinematic, sometimes dark and menacing, some times uplifting and bright, but its not composed as an easy listen. While cooking supper listening to “An American Man Stole My Balloons” my better half walked into the kitchen, looked at me, looked at the speaker, sighed and walked out! If electronic music and particular experimental music or old Churches is something you take an interest in then you really can’t go wrong with “Sufficiently Disconcerting” because at times it really is.
“Sufficiently Disconcerting” is released by the Lancashire based label Wormhole World as a CD or download. An independent label, easily found on Bandcamp, that specializes in experimental music.