Scorn


Colossus

Scorn - Colossus ©1994 Earache
1. Endless
2. Crimson Seed
3. Blackout
4. The Sky Is Loaded
5. Nothing Hunger
6. Beyond
7. Little Angel
8. White Irises Blind
9. Scorpions
10. Night's Ash Black
11. Sunstroke

Though sounding absolutely nothing like Mick Harris' previous band Napalm Death, Scorn is an equally (if not moreso) disturbing project that has the innate ability to give listeners the heebie-jeebies. Based somewhat on dub rhythms, low end bass lines, looped sounds and voices sounding like they were culled from ancient spirits, Colossus is the type of record that I can appreciate to a large degree, but can only handle on rare occasion. The album lasts over an hour and the creepiness factor sets in early. I think it's mostly the echoing and almost spoken voices bouncing around the tracks that cause the most amount of eerieness. Some tracks, such as "The Sky is Loaded", have quite a bit of spooky sound effects that are actually effective, not goofy haunted house noises. The use of the looping and dub style bass often gives the tracks a bit of a hypnotic effect, as though you are trapped on a bad acid trip and surrounded by some of your less comforting emotions. With the production also giving the sounds a lot of space to work with, there is a plethora of disturbing sounds effects bouncing around the rhythm pieces. There are some moments that are straight of Harris' other project, Lull. "Little Angel" focuses on waves and tones for effectiveness, much as his work with Lull does. The end result is an album that is effectively disturbing to both your psyche and mood. Naturally there are a lot of people who quite enjoy being touched in the head this way and Colossus will do much to provide a rather unsettling musical experience. As I said earlier, I save this for rare listens as it is not something I enjoy often, but it does serve its purpose when I do play it.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2000

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Evanescence

Scorn - Evanescence ©1994 Earache
1. Silver Rain Fell
2. Light Trap
3. Falling
4. Automata
5. Days Passed
6. Dreamspace
7. Exodus
8. Night Tide
9. The End
10. Slumber

Far removed from the gutteral belchings and bleatings of nascent Napalm Death, Scorn is the more defining musical act of Mick Harris' career. Apparently sometime after leaving Napalm Death, Harris checked himself into a studio and apparently never reemerged into the light of day again. He also seemingly has recorded every note he's ever played and along with Bill Laswell and John Zorn, has a rather lengthy portolio to show for it. Evanescence, recorded as a duo with Nicholas Bullen, examines the world of ambient dub with an emphasis on spatial placement of music. The songs are built around the throbbing, thick basslines that sound like they could have been borrowed from the aforementioned Laswell. Beyond that, Harris and Bullen construct soundscapes featuring echoing sounds and plenty of far reaching reverb. There are occasional disembodied voices to give you the occasional willies and/or nillies. Despite that, Evanescence lacks the menacing feel one might expect from a name like Scorn. To a degree, it serves the listener best by dwelling in the background or within a pair of good headphones. The songs, due to the bass sound and approach, do bleed together quite a bit.

Scorn has never completely won me over with their take on ambient dub, although Evanescence tends to be one of my favorite records from the act. Scorn seems as though they want to keep listeners at arm's length and lack a bit of the warmth others in the genre exude. That said, the album is a career high point and something anyone into the ambient dub scene should investigate.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2009


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