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Mort Douce - Locust Dreams

The fold-out sleeve of this professional CD-R with its series of graphic polaroid images depicts a girl, battered, bruised and wrapped in cellophane; a ruby-red ring steeped in blood. While another shows a torn page with the handwritten scrawl of a poem. You'd be forgiven for expecting something sinister with packaging more at home with brutal power electronics.

Instead on Locust Dreams Mort Douce, the project of the Polish musician Adam Stalker, create audible landscapes of alien terrain and industrial wastelands. Some of the tracks here appear like soundscapes for films. 'A Flash Flood in the Night' is like a setting for a horror film set in a disused industrial space as corrosive sounds ricochet around metallic corridors and vast empty chambers. Likewise, the niggling whispering tones of 'Sun in My Hand' evoke images of desert wind howling over space craft - it's like something that would accompany scenes from Roeg's The Man Who Fell To Earth of Lynch's Dune.

Locust Dreams isn't all soundtrack stylings, 'Coarse State of Saturn' features a wavering slight-piercing drone, where tiny variations in tone ring out like a faint melody. The incessant piercing all but overwhelms the refracting movements underneath and with its 8+ minute duration it's painfully distracting. Much better are the aching chasms, quaking textures and scraping, shifting timbres of 'Beneath the Flesh', 'All Stripped Down' and the opening track 'Dreams of Better Days' where mammoth slabs of rumbling sounds and cavernous electronics meet distant metallic clatter.

Locust Dreams, Stalker wrote on his blog, is the final Mort Douce release due to lack of exposure for the project. This is a pity as the cosmic dark ambient is every bit as good as Vestigial and compares favourably with similar type releases on the Cyclic Law label and suchlike. Locust Dreams relies heavily on personnel involved in the Coil mailing list: Stalker is an active poster, the graphic design is beautifully rendered by Gregory Rapp, the poet John Siddique contributed a specially written poem for the project - from which the track titles are derived - and the release was realised by a subsidiary of Danhuser Org, a label operated by yet another Coil listee. I sincerely hope that Adam Stalker continues with Mort Douce as promoted elsewhere he could easily find an audience for his ambient atmospherics. As at the hands of Mort Douce even the slightest tonal change is like a mammoth tectonic shift. For more information go to