Soundtrack for the Apocalypse Edge
This is a dangerous land. The earth trembles like glass forever caught in shockwaves and the sea ripples in hurricane gales. Yet, forever this world is captured in beauty, filled with great beasts that lie down amongst the twisting pines and shimmering birds, whose lustrous feathers glimmer in the searing rays of the sun. This is the earth Oto Hiax inhabit on their self-titled album: a world of danger and beauty, of shimmering bells and crushing static, a world carefully balanced on the precipice of insanity, holding always one foot on either side.
The first track of the album “Insh” is on the more beauteous side of the album, its twinkling bells and atmospheric guitar work bring to mind a forest morning where birds are waking to greet the new dawn. In spite of this beauty, there remains an ever-present static wind of sorts, a breeze warning of a storm to come. The storm builds slightly in the track “Flist.” The traditional instrumentation largely fades from the framework at this point, leaving a dense population of Yeezus-esque synths that thrum and beat against the listener’s eardrums with a building intensity. As the track grows ever more ominous, the clouds breach the horizon.
After building through numerous songs – one of the more notable being “Littics” and its strange noises – the storm finally hits. In a long, thrumming drone similar to what might be found on a Godspeed You! Black Emperor record, “Thrufts” collapses the entire framework of the record in a glorious cacophony. The drone is overlaid with the clipped-out sounds of drumming on a tin roof and what can only be described as a harsh wind blowing into an uncovered microphone. “Thruft” is the sonic breaking point and centerpiece of the album. Teetering on the boundaries of noise and found sound, the track is an exemplary thesis of how to construct an engaging experimental track.
While each track is instrumental, they all feel poignant in light of the current times. The earth, our dangerous beautiful globe, is tilting on the precipice as we nudge her ever closer to the edge. The political climate is reaching an uncompromising critical mass. The catastrophe is building, and the world flirts ceaselessly with the breaking point. In the background, earth hears the songs of Oto Hiax ring out across the sunlit wasteland, a strange and fitting score to the nigh apocalypse.