crone“Tipping Point” opens a glorious exploration of three dark and sinister soundworlds by experimental electronic duo crone.  Place a pair of comfortable headphones over your ears, dim the lights, close your eyes, and hold on tight…

crone are Lucy Reid and Emily Berryman; initially assembled in Dunedin, then relocated to Wellington.  The three tracks on “crone” (7, 13 and 11 minutes respectively) each build unique yet thematically linked worlds, each one part wonder and part terror.

“Tipping Point” here starts proceedings beautifully, creating an oppressive, threatening landscape of pulses and machines, washed with synth drones and then building steady layers of minimalist beats.

Next, “(in)complete” channels some “Blade Runner” incidental music vibes and damp ambience, before finding a pulse and traces of glitchy disembodied voice. It’s the only human voice on the three tracks and yet it manages to sound the least human thing here in a way; a damaged auto-play facsimile reproduction of a memory of humanity.

Finally, “Masochist Impulse” builds out of the decayed residuals of its predecessor then heads further into noise and deeper into bass frequencies as the listener is dive-bombed by alien insects while being pummeled rhythmically by percussive ultra-bass and heartbeat increasing with the building sense of unease and impending doom.

Altogether it’s a wonderful 30 minutes of immersive music. This absorbing collection was mixed by Danny Brady (Élan Vital, Death and The Maiden) and mastered by Forbes Williams (who also mastered Elan Vital’s brutal cold-wave dance music album “Shadow Self”).

On their first release crone expertly combine futuristic industrial sounds with heavy off-planet atmosphere and pulsing sub-bass to create a thrillingly dark collection of soundscapes. By turns eery, brutalist, tense, and mysterious, while also working effectively as hypnotic dance music capable of inducing a compulsive trance-sway in the listener.

There’s a pile of much-loved Chris & Cosey – Carter-Tutti, and Chris Carter solo albums in the PopLib collection. I rate crone‘s thrilling pneumatic debut up with the best of those.