Skip to main content
A Magazine for

THE CITIZEN MADE OF GLASS

The moment the droning wobble of opening track 'All Flesh Melts' begins, you know you're in for an unsettling ride listening to Ascetic's newest opus The Citizen Made of Glass. Inviting the listener into a deeply troubled trance from the off, this Berlin-based minimal electronic maestro relies so heavily on atmosphere that sometimes you'd be forgiven for forgetting you were listening to an album and not in fact living in a psychological thriller.

After several minutes, the relentless throbbing is embellished with an obvious beat and the core of this album's sound is revealed - deep, disturbing, industrial ambience and bubbling techno soundscapes, giving way to strangely hypnotic and somehow sexy grooves, creating a horrifyingly engaging experience that is terrifying and yet endlessly enticing.

Lying somewhere on the intensity scale between the overtly harsh noise of Ben Frost and the more restrained repetition of Vatican Shadow, Ascetic creates some of the creepiest electronic music put to tape, employing a combination of subtle, lingering noises and an underpinning of heavy, ritualistic bass, never becoming sonically overbearing. Occasionally, the relentlessness of the atmosphere becomes almost too much to bear - the stabbing distortion of 'Throne of Want' scrapes at your ear drums like nails on a chalkboard - but clearly this was never meant to be a comfortable listen. Similarly, the uncanny heart monitor beep on ‘Invocation' provides an element of twisted humanity amongst the otherwise largely mechanical chaos, and only serves to make the glorious horror more real.

Though there are moments which have solid, danceable beats, this is far from a party album, unless your party guests are seeking a depraved journey to the darkest corners of their psyches. That said, if you are willing to take that dark trip, this album is supreme and deeply affecting.

by Now Then Sheffield