Emptyset - Borders
Empytset are not for the faint of heart, nor for the casual listen. Their music is a study much like Aphex Twin but in a different way of what music is and what it can be. They seek to use space, time, sound and silence as their tools to fill a room with brutal energy. The opening track "Body" buzzes and breathes this robotic sound that is at once human and machine. What Emptyset do extremely well is get the most out of every tool that they use. You've never heard a synth like this, you've never heard drums sound this way, they essentially take what we see as normal music and flip it to this whole other thing. Yet instead of a beat you have this throbbing sensation and this deep sense of dread that permeates the entire project. The sounds make you feel uneasy even though they are constant and predictable in a sense. Changes don't happen quickly, they slowly roll out giving you plenty of time to prepare for the next shape the music takes, yet it still feels odd. Somehow though Emptyset keep Borders from sounding overly oppressive. A lot of experimentally dark records like this tend to be huge like they would be in a live setting, but not here, the sentiment is the same but the delivery is what really sets Emptyset apart.
One of the difficult aspects of reviewing this album is just how similar it all sounds. The buzz is almost identical, the clangs are super similar almost everywhere you look you find something that you heard previously on the album. The thumping is constant, the buzz is constant and the other elements barely change. Luckily the runtime is quite short at just 30 minutes but it does drag on and on. However you have to look at experimental music for what kind of artistry it is bringing to the table, not it's pop appeal. As a dark, twisted piece of art Borders succeeds in getting the listener shook, but you also cannot imagine yourself ever willingly listening to this again. It becomes a novelty, something you may mention to friends as a "you're not going to believe the craziness I heard" but never something on your waking up playlist. The closer "Dissolve" is where we see Emptyset really try to bridge that gap between dance and experimental, and it works, but the real question is for whom?
6.2 out of 10