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Morals And Dogma

Morals And Dogma
(Rune Grammofon)

Morals And Dogma is only one-fourth of the massive Deathprod boxset that I reviewed earlier this year, but it is also the newest piece of the puzzle that is Helge Sten and the only release from the boxset that's being made available on its own (that is, unless you can track down the very early, very limited release of the first disc from Sten's own label). Given that this latest work is also my favorite piece of the boxset (and indeed one of my favorite releases of the year), I thought I'd sit down and write a bit more about it now that I've had even more time to absorb the release.

Perhaps I should say that the release has had more time to absorb me, because that's often what it feels like when listening to the work of Deathprod. If you can't listen to Morals And Dogma on a decent stereo system, you're just not going to get the full effect of the music because much of what is happening is going on in deeper registers. "Tron" is the disc opener, and sounds completely oppressive and much more haunting than the film that it took its namesake from. As lower drones hum and crash along, higher tones that sound like ghostly disembodied voices drift along over it all.

"Dead People's Things" is the longest track on the release at almost twenty minutes, and as I stated in my other review, it doesn't seem overly long at all. Easily one of my favorite tracks of the year, it takes a decaying violin loop and puts it squarely between a mysterious rumble from the deep and an absolutely haunting higher melody that could be a theremin or simply a ghost caught on audio tape. "Orgone Donor" is the only track where you can really distinguish the source instrument of a violin, and while it's by no means uplifting, one could probably call it at the very least hopeful given the surrounding environment.

"Cloudchamber" closes the disc with more deep, deep sweeps that wilt ever-so-slightly as they are twisted back and then forward again as they advance towards a darker place. When listening to Morals And Dogma, words like "subterranean" and "submersed" come to mind easily. More than one track sounds like the sonic equivalent of what you might hear if you sunk a symphony to the bottom of the ocean or a cave (or into a cave at the bottom of the ocean) and recorded the results from far away. It's dark and sometimes eerie and haunting, yet I've found myself listening to it over and over again since I got it.

Rating: 8.75