Autumns - Das Nichts
(2016 Clan Destine Records)
To trace Autumns' prolific, primarily cassette-based discography is to plummet into a sonic abyss. The Irish solo outfit's crepuscular latest effort - appropriately titled Das Nichts (The Nothingness) - is a seemingly endless Krautrock journey through a Wonka-esque tunnel of proto-industrial feedback. It's a stark contrast to the sloppy surf-poptimism of 2013's debut cassingle Keep On Singing: an eyeliner-smeared sophomore yearbook photo next to its toothy 6th grade counterpart. Frontman and sole project member Christian Donaghy is not shy about flaunting his avant-nihilist attitude, opening Das Nichts with a twenty-minute fuzz-rock jam shrouded in icy distortion and viscous reverb. An unchanging loop of automaton drum machine chops bars of dissonant guitaristry into individually wrapped noise slabs while Donaghy slips atonal yawps and howls through the holes of the track's chainlink uniformity. It's early shoegaze tinted with Factory Records abrasion and sifted through a retro-house house, not far removed the pulsating goth grooves of The Soft Moon. "Fed by Dominance" pairs its phase-shifting beat with a recurring tone that resembles a chirping bird - an outlier image among whirring, nocturnal synths that adds to the record's unnerving atmosphere.
Das Nichts is a fresh take on classic punk and noise tropes that seems as suited for the dancefloor as it does the basement show - though it's quite an imposing listen, an open mind and a little patience should allow access to its alluring darkwave aesthetic. Autumns' new sound isn't for everyone, but it is unique and bold enough to become the obsession of a select few.