Katatonic Silentio // Tabula Rasa
(Ilian Tape)

After the sizable impact of her Prisoner Of The Self album and its attendant all-star remix package, Katatonic Silentio is stepping up to Ilian Tape with a fully formed identity which makes for an intriguing fit on the Zenker Brothers’ label. Of course, there’s a common thirst for bassweight pressure between both parties, and Ilian Tape is becoming a platform for ever more intriguing abstractions on the hardcore-rooted spectrum, but Silentio in particular is an especially wild card – just ask anyone who’s spent time bewildered by her CyberspeakMusic release, Emotional Gun.

The sound design styles of ‘Shy-Fi’ that open up this EP make it clear we’re not in for a dose of conventional soundsystem techno, but something more evocative. In this arrhythmic space, the sonics seem to grip to every angle, suspended from the ceiling and creeping around your kicks. It’s ambient sound design rendered in high definition, and it makes for a potent foundation for a dynamic and deep-layered EP.

Rather than stepping up to deliver chunky peak timers as you might reasonably expect on Ilian Tape, Silentio instead opts for a heavyweight electronica which leans on some sludgy tempos – all the better to marvel at her rippling, writhing sound design. ‘Midnight Train Breaking Through’ does have a mean dubwise swagger which could do the damage in a dance for sure, but the liberal dousing of echo adds a spaced out dimension which overpowers the rowdy bass growls. ‘When You Think It’s Over’, by way of contrast, lets plenty of light in thanks to a beautifully rendered forwards-backwards pad tone.

As if to pointedly hammer home the destination for this music away from the club, the title track revels in electro-acoustic and neo-classical manipulation. Whether the strings are real or synthetic, the progression between slithering sound design and compositional form is an impressive testament to Silentio’s ever-growing artistic powers.

This review was originally published as part of Juno Daily’s Albums of the Week round-up.