DUAL – Tocsin

(Mystery Sea)

I don’t know the exact reason, but it looks to me that British people working in the area of dark ambient own a couple of additional gears compared to the ever-growing mass of “buy-me-a-synth-become-a-musician” using the first Korg preset two octaves down to make sounds of “obscure waters” and the second Roland preset to evoke “the sacred ooooohs and aaaahs” while sitting on their sofa looking at the sport results. This helps them (the British, I mean) in transforming a “normal” album (and, let’s face it, most of this stuff sounds exactly the same whoever releases it) in something worthy of being considerated more carefully. Such is the case of Dual (Colin Bradley) who, in “Tocsin”, sails through the perilous waters of loopscaping and “eternal-torment” droning without causing my yawns to suffocate me, even giving me some very nice suggestions in various points of his disc. Bradley’s forte is his use of overwhelming low frequencies that strike like an earthquake at unexpected moments; but he’s also a good hand in creating hazardous environments of elemental pseudo-tribalism, which often flows into oppressive atmospheres that once we could have called (still wondering why, by the way) “postindustrial”, especially when an essential pulse is brought forth in the mix. The recipe is enriched by sparse and intelligently placed processed field recordings, the overall result being very good for at least three quarters of the disc, as Dual avoids remaining on a subject for too long, immediately shifting his camera somewhere else. The final movement is the most anguishing one, echoes of mutilated entities seemingly accompanying with their lamentations a body in its predecease process in what’s a disquieting, effective final touch.


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