By Marcus Pan
New genre alert! There's ambient,
experimental, minimalism in its many forms...but now I bring to your attention
a new genre that I find named for the first time. And that is..."illbient."
It's really one of the cooler genre names out there, if you ask me. And from
the content of the word itself you can probable figure it out...I'm not a
My first time coming across this word was in the press kit
of Mystified. Accompanying their Transient release, Mystified claims to
have their hands in everything electronic including illbient. The man
behind Mystified is none other than Thomas Park(1), who we've encountered in
the past creating fractal soundage under the moniker of Autocad some time back.
He's continued at it, doing everything from label releases to DJing, and his
compilation credits are numerous and impressive.
Transient is a thirteen track full length from
Mystified, quietly released on Latex Records. It's very similar to Park's older
work as Autocad, random sensory input with subtle manipulations and, at the
very least such as on Lang, a minimal guidance towards a movement of
some type. It makes for interesting background sound, but with the dismal
atmosphere it builds I wouldn't suggest it for, say, your average aroma therapy
or massage parlor. It's liable to depress you with its "illbience." Park's
music does have the power to manipulate.
Strangely, while somewhat minimal Transient still
maintains a sense of self and somehow moves, though sometimes sluggishly.
Silent Swing is made up of nothing more than background bubbles over
which brightly tapping synthetic bells chime. Music Box is stronger in
its make up, even including a scratchy rhythm of sorts, and while brightly
colored still retains an "ill" feeling deep inside. It slows down, starting to
drag, adding more and more to that feeling and by the time this very quick
track ends paranoia has set in...regardless of the track's original light
melodics. This sets us up for...
Sliptide drones in with very evil intentions it
seems, with a deep dark void out of which the occasional flash of pulsing light
tries to escape. For one sheer moment, Blessed Poor falls away a bit
from the truly dismal, respite from the previous tracks of voidness as it
brightens up the atmosphere a tad. Short lived as Leakage's background
sounds like Thomas has tapped his finger down on the mix tape to garble and
drag the background just a bit, creating a very strangely neurotic feeling.
From straight out of nowhere, the Sliptide Dub adds
in a funky percussive rhythm to Transient and immediately dispels most
of the foreboding built on the previous nine tracks. Funky illbient from out of
the ether. Likewise the Leakage Dub takes the previous neurosis attempts
similar, by adding a drum rhythm to it. Not nearly as successful as the
I'm not sure if Thomas Parks and his Mystified outfit are
attempting to wreak paranoia through the morose and foreboding sounds of their
illbient music. But nonetheless the end result is one of near terror,
tantalizing with neurosis and paranoid visions at the very edge of our mind's
eye. I'm certainly glad I've managed to spin this CD and write this review
while I'm not alone at my desk...other people I work with occasionally pass by
and remind me that all is fine.
5073 A Chippewa, St. Louis, MO, 63109, USA
(1) We interviewed
Thomas back in Legends #110.