Beneath John Talabot’s catalog runs a pipeline tunneling from euphoria to dread—from sundown reveries to midnight rituals. In simply over a decade, the Catalan digital musician (aka Oriol Riverola) has gone from being a serenader of seashore events to a magical medium presiding over death-disco seances. His early singles and 2012 debut album burst with sun-kissed vibes and supersaturated colours—Mediterranean home music’s reply to chillwave. But since then, just about every part he has executed—nearly all of it collaborative—has run progressively towards the shadows.
There was the darkly lustrous cosmic disco of Quentin, with Barcelona’s Marc Piñol, and the languorous Italo chug of Misplaced Scripts, along with his outdated pal Pional. Below the fortuitous portmanteau Talaboman, with Swedish home miscreant Axel Boman, there have been oily motorik escapades and ominous flashbacks to ’70s Berlin. Early within the pandemic, Riverola and his girlfriend hid out within the countryside with one other couple and cooked up Drames Rurals, wringing chilly, claustrophobic funk out of cabin fever. Cluster I is the debut album from Mioclono, Riverola’s duo with Velmondo, aka Arnau Obiols, an affiliate of Riverola’s label Hivern Discs. It may be his most sumptuously eerie launch but. Throughout eight lengthy tracks protecting almost an hour and 20 minutes, Mioclono go spelunking in a slow-motion underworld, wrapping haywire synths round lysergic drum circles.
Following an ominous spoken-word introduction—“You know, my wife has never seen blue sky in her entire life,” says a person who appears like a drunk Mel Gibson—opening monitor “Blue Skies” introduces the weather that dominate the album. Loping congas and shakers set up a tentative rhythm; a bleepy arpeggio stretches throughout the monitor from finish to finish, like a clothesline hung with ragged digital tones and fluttering drum fills. There are few melodies to be discovered anyplace, though tuned drums just like the djembe and darbuka lend wealthy tonal resonance, and on “Myoclonic Sequences,” regular marimba patterns flood the music with colour, like a Balearic tackle new age. Principally, although, Mioclono favor buzzing harmonies and grinding, ring-modulated timbres—tough, tactile textures that complement the innumerable layers of percussion in play.
Sometimes, Cluster I’s quivering oscillators and bitter synth tones appear decided to unsettle: The atonal buzz and explosive drum fills of “Pell de Serp” are about as cuddly as an erupting termite mound. However essentially the most satisfying tracks are immersive and enveloping. “Fog and Fire,” which evokes the occult rites of Craig Leon’s Nommos, most likely doesn’t must be 16 minutes lengthy, but Mioclono don’t waste a second of it, fleshing out their pitter-pat congas and metallic clang with air-raid sirens, dubby squalls, and a gravelly voiceover that brings to thoughts Vincent Worth muttering spells over a effervescent cauldron. “Acid Rain” is the spotlight, braiding a number of TB-303 strains over meditative hand percussion. Within the trend of Plastikman tracks like “Plastique,” it ideas uneasily between sluggish and quick, balancing 4/4 plod with flickering Thirty second-note fills, and spinning its acid melody right into a stream of quicksilver beads. It’s mysterious, lithe, stealthy.