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Anemone Tube - In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality

In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality is the latest album from Anemone Tube and while it shares its title with a 2015 cassette release it is a very different release. With the addition of 4 extra tracks including some reworkings of 'Tower of Evil' and 'Negation of Myth' from their previous Golden Temple release, In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality should be considered as a stand-alone release within their impressive discography. Anemone Tube's releases are highly conceptual and this one is no different. And while it continues and develops themes found on earlier releases, In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality focusses on the Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy noted by Nietzsche in the Birth of Tragedy. Featuring collaborations with Post Scriptvm and Pacific 231 together with a composition from Monocube utilising sound sources supplied by Anemone Tube, In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality is another evocative outing for Stefan Hanser's progressive post-industrial solo-project.

Anemone Tube's previous album Golden Temple utilised industrial, dark ambient and power noise together with their idiosyncratic approach to location recordings so it's surprising to find the opening two tracks relying heavily on sustained guitar noise. The waves of looped guitar squall that billow over sustained keyboards on the opening track, 'In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality (Nietzsche's Dream)' / 'Le Pont Du Diable', and on the following track, 'Tower Of Evil (Sovereign Over All)', are reminiscent of Skullflower's blackened psychedelia. 'Tower Of Evil' appeared on Golden Temple as 'Tower Of Evil (The Ultimate Truth)' in an uncompromising noise drenched form but here it helps to reveal the duality of In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality pitting harsher noise and discordant elements such as textures and feedback against the melodic and harmonic synth work found lurking underneath. Both tracks also feature familiar Anemone Tube motifs in the form of film dialogue and location recordings, here represented by the sirens and the audible bustle of the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Kyoto.

Textures, tones and feedback figure heavily on In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality, as even the gentle atmo orchestral-synths that underpin 'Perfect Dream' are cut with a gritty texture glazing it with a hazy dreamlike facade. 'In the Vortex of Dionysian Reality II', meanwhile, offers a similar mood to the opening track with its modulated feedback and slight wavering sustained synth sound. This time, however, it appears to be shorn of the dense layers of guitar noise that featured on the opener which reaped comparisons with the blackened guitar noise of Skullflower. Despite their conceptual differences Skullflower isn't a bad reference point here as both groups sit within the noise spectrum creating a meditative hallucinatory sound. And while they share influences in the form of JG Ballard and HP Lovecraft Skullflower also err towards the English occult tradition while Anemone Tube's releases also find inspiration in the visual arts in the form of film directors such as Michael Haneke and the Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki. But it is to Nietzsche Anemone Tube turn to on In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality and how "language has failed as a method of communication and music figures as the primordial form of expression." It is this struggle between these two elements that In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality exemplifies in the duality of sound where vague melodies are pit against harsher and more discordant textures and sounds.

One thematic strain that runs throughout the work of Anemone Tube on "The Suicide Series" of releases that runs from Dream Landscape, Death Over China to Golden Temple is the inherent self-destructive tendencies of industrial development. This is a theme continued on 'Terror Of Nature' which offers a brief interlude between 'Perfect Dream' and 'In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality II'. Over chiming keys the voiceover is sampled from the work of Hayao Miyazaki, a constant inspiration and regular fixture in the work of Anemone Tube. This time Anemone Tube look to his animated film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind with dialogue relating the effects of environmental pollution: "it's so beautiful... it's hard to believe these spores could kill me. Five minutes without a mask and I'd be dead."

Flip it over and immediately the opening track 'Evangelium Der Weltharmonie' ebbs towards something more sacred and archaic. This one is a collaboration with Russian avant garde outfit Post Scriptvm who supply the gongs that punctuate the morose synthwork. The entire track is more ritualised with an atmosphere infused with shadowy ghostlike voices but it somehow carries over the location recording feel synonymous with Anemone Tube. 'Perpetual Dawn' also yields some softer synths but they're sheathed in a gritty, grainy textured veneer. The background sound treatments are performed by sound artist Pacific 231 and they coalesce into a harsh texturised swell.

And while those tracks seem much more earthy on 'Suicidal Fantasy (Negation Of Myth II)' everything is drawn up into a cavernous abyss, closing on an ebbing voice. Before that in this strong and deftly composed track streams of textures and noise are offset by glinting synths. A more meditative version of this appeared on Golden Temple but this "suicidal fantasy" version is much more open, airy and propulsive as the sounds are pulled forward; in fact it's like being sucked through a wind tunnel, or even a tube, before being cast into a gaping void.

The final track the wonderfully titled 'Like The Streaming Of A Giant River, Life Is Passing, Without Ever Turning Around' is given over to the Ukranian dark ambient Monocube who have fashioned a track from sound sources supplied by Anemone Tube. Those sound sources supplied by Anemone Tube are by now obviously familiar but are played out in an elongated fashion within an atmospheric ambient drone. Eschewing the overriding textures and feedback that feature heavily, Monocube opt to litter the drone with slight touches of buzz, tones, processed voices, digital effects and voices. It gives space to the sound sources in an unhurried manner as it ebbs and flows picking up and discarding the sound sources as it maps life's journey from innocence into a world of beauty and creation balanced by destruction and death.

In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality continues Anemone Tube's conceptually based sound explorations. It doesn't reach the heady heights of Golden Temple which married images, music and literary references to wonderful effect but it's further proof, with the help of Post Scriptvm, Pacific 231 and Monocube, of Anemone Tube's ability to craft a deeply immersive sound from harmonic and melodic synths, carefully controlled discordancy, and field recordings. And on In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality Anemone Tube continue to craft something unique and complex from noise, ambient, industrial and sound art. Anemone Tube are well worth looking out. In The Vortex Of Dionysian Reality was expertly mastered by Hunter Barr (KnifeLadder, Black Light Ascension) and is available as a CD and as vinyl with slight differences in tracks. Both editions are limited to 200 copies. For more information go to The Epicurean