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Isolrubin BK - Crash Injury Trauma

Arecibo - Trans Plutonian Transmissions

Years before collaborating with rock groups like Tool and the Melvins, Lustomord, the pioneering dark ambient musician, released these releases under pseudonyms, as they were markedly different from Lustmord's typical output. Crash Injury Trauma is a shocking exploration of car crashes using sound effects, car crash victims, witness testimonies and news reports. Recorded in 1993 by Lustmord under the pseudonym Isolrubin BK it is a disturbing listen as it’s delivered with an objective neutrality. There’s no message here beyond the obvious cautionary tale. Liner notes are taken from a crash investigators manual and the track titles almost seem lifted from chapter titles in a Ballard novel.

‘Resistance of the Human Head To Crash Impact’ is particularly disturbing. The entire piece comprises a collage of screeching tyres, smashing glass, crushing metal and the blare of emergency sirens. Continuously replayed over a layer of buzzing electronics and heartbeat pulses there’s no let-up and no way to avoid the inevitable carnage. The following track, ‘Motor Vehicle Collision Victim Removal Procedure’, is compelling stuff. Compiled from a recording of a lecture presentation on crash injury victims with crash victim and witness testimonies, it’s the audio equivalent of rubbernecking but the sound of sawing and power tools really hits home with the tragedy unfolding in the wreckage at the side of the road.

Other tracks are more beat oriented like ‘Three Possible Points Of Impact That A Driver May Incur When Colliding With An Object At Speed’ where a computerized voice informs us that those points are predictably the steering wheel, dashboard or windshield. By far the most memorable is ‘The Dynamics Involved In An Injury By Mechanical Force’ which thumps along with a dirty, dubby On-U Sound layered with victim testimonies, blaring car horns and the inevitable screeching brakes and crash impact sounds. There’s even room for power noise in the form of ‘Cranio-Facial Absorption: Multiple Lacerations’.

The final track, ‘Return To The Scene Of A Severe Read Traffic Accident For Detailed Investigation Of Conditions Pending Reconstruction’, is infused with a haunting Lustmord atmosphere with feint heartbeat pulses and the ghostlike sound of accelerating cars careering down lost highways.

Arecibo's Trans Plutonian Transmissions was created from “sources for cosmological activity” monitored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California and features recordings of “pulsars, quasars, thermal radiation, synchrotron radiation, electron particle interaction, radio galaxies, remains of supernova explosions and background radiation”. It sounds intriguing and excellent source material for Brian Williams. And it is on ‘Receiving Station Alignment’ which grows from feint howling mixing echoed space telecommunication voices with electronic pulses and processing of technological instrumentation. Here like the dense shifting atmospheres and reverbed shuddering layers of ‘Unified Field Modulation’ you can imagine the vastness of space as equipment probes the darkest recesses of the infinite void.

Too often though, Trans Plutonian Transmissions utilises electronic sequencing that really is of its time. Recorded in 1994, the electronics recall the ambient electronics (or whatever it was called then) of groups like The Orb and labels like Fax. There’s a propulsive atmospheric woosh to ‘Beyond The Heart of Space’ but it's set against some fairly pedestrian sequencers. Rather than play to his considerable strength to create rich, layered atmospheric music Brian Williams panders to the trend of others and in particular in utilising analogue sequencers on a number of tracks. The openness of ‘Anomalous Intermittent Radio Source’ is filled with downtempo rhythms and squelchy analogue sequencers. Listening to this blind you’d be hard pushed to name Lustmord as the composer behind this. Much better is ‘The Four Second Timing Discrepancy’ which flows from light minimal electronics merging voices from the radio control room with hushed sparse movement of space debris.

Both releases have been remastered and repackaged with new artwork, and while they bring a new slant to the work of Brian Lustmord they remain of curious interest. Crash Injury Trauma remains a startling and shocking listen but Trans Plutonian Transmissions really remains of its age. For more information go to