Wolf Eyes’ Nate Young’s Regression series has provided some of the most compelling dread-electronics spewed out by the North American underground in years, with instalments released on Demdike Stare’s DDS label and Aaron Dilloway's Hanson, as well as NNA Tapes and others. It all began back in 2009 with the first volume issued by Joachim Nordwall’s Ideal label, an incredible set that’s now being released on vinyl for the first time ever, just in time for Wolf Eyes newly minted (Warp sponsored) Lower Floor imprint to make its debut this coming spring.
Young is one of those artists whose output is instantly recognisable, his take on primitive electronics is both innovative and unnerving, and in recent years has really dominated the stylistic direction pursued by Wolf Eyes. It’s a kind of creaky, bare-boned deconstruction of classic horror scoring jolted by noise and industrial motifs, sounding somewhere between Demdike Stare’s early work, John Carpenter and Mica Levi’s by-now-classic soundtrack to Under The Skin. Weirdly, the third track on this LP is also called Under The Skin despite being released half a decade earlier - call it Magick. You could neither classify Regression as a Noise record nor an Ambient one, instead the synth dissections and tape treatments more closely reference early electronic music. 'Trapped' offers little of the claustrophobia suggested by its title, although the continual woody knocking sounds and filthy oscillations do engender a sense of unease, while 'Dread' brings to mind the Desmond Briscoe soundtrack to Nigel Kneale's The Stone Tape. 'Under The Skin' returns to the more esoteric, intangible sound designs that characterised the album's opening, writhing around in a spluttering, tactile fashion that's at once sonically rather beautiful and deeply sinister, modulating through grisly synthesiser gestures while more textural, percussive sounds flood through dub-style tape delays.
At no point does Regression reach cacophonous volumes, but it’s essentially as moody and unsettling a record as you'll likely hear. Young makes deftly modern synthesizer constructions that manage to bypass Kosmische and Horror clichés, instead making for one of the most singular bodies of electronic music on the contemporary scene. He has an uncanny ability to make sonic extremes sound incredibly seductive, and this volume is perhaps the most engrossing exposition of that unique ability.
A classic - huge recommendation!