Feral/Debutante – Split (Review)

Feral DebutanteFeral are a drone/noise/post-rock band from the UK and Debutante is a one-man electro-rock/drone artist from Switzerland.

I’ve not encountered Feral before, so was unsure of what to expect from their two track, six minute contribution to this release.

What’s the Worst That Could Happen? is droning noise that artfully incorporates a pseudo-beat into its makeup, allowing the rough soundscape something to latch onto as it seems to rip reality in two. Through this tear in space and time seem to come howling, screaming daemons, drawn by the promise of warm life and soft minds to drain. It’s a formidable proposition.

Cry Yourself to the Hanging is an entirely different beast, coming across as an 80s influenced darkpop song with a dark indie/shoegaze side. In some ways it’s in stark contrast to the first track, but actually ends up sounding quite complementary despite the stylistic differences. There’s a refined sense of darkness implied in the music that seems to draw on the more primal, feral, (ahem), nature of the first.

I very much enjoyed this brief encounter with Feral, I must say.

We’ve met Debutante before with EP3. He impressed then, and he’s impressed now.

With one song – No Mirrors – that’s twice the length of Feral’s two, this is a slow-burner that builds atmosphere and a layered, shifting soundscape with ease, providing the listener with ever-changing impressions. This latter aspect comes across strongly, as if the track has undergone a million different permutations to finally settle on the version that has been captured on this recording, although even that seems ephemeral and tentative.

For me, initially, it’s as if someone has taken some form of old-west frontier song and twisted it into an elongated and mutated homage to drone and experimental noise. At least, that’s what comes into my mind when I listen to this. Your own experiences may differ, of course, and that’s the point. In this way, there’s a chameleonic nature to the music, like it’s in the middle of changing as you listen to it, becoming something else even as you think you have it nailed down in your head. Does this have a old-western feel to the underpinning foundation of the song, or does it have more of a folk-inspired melancholic base. Maybe its core is that of a computer game soundtrack being played while the radio is playing a long lost song from decades past?

In truth, all of this and none of this is contained on No Mirrors, and the lack of reflective surfaces doesn’t stop the listener seeing what they want to see when they look into the core of this dark music. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but so is warped dysmorphia and amplified self-loathing. No Mirrors is everything you think you see as you stare deep into yourself.

What will your reality be?

No Mirrors is Debutante’s crowning achievement so far, and with the impressive contribution from Feral included in this release, it’s a very strong split.

Highly recommended for anyone into experimental, exploratory music.

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