Helm: Impossible Symmetry
Sorry. I’m going to be writing about 2012 records for months to come, I believe, because it was just such an amazing year for music. Especially experimental music. And fucking hell what a year it was for the Berlin based label Pan; Eli Keszler, Lee Gamble, NHK’Koyxen and that kick ass Aaron Dilloway/Jason Lescalleet collaboration. And then there’s this creepy record.
Helm is one Luke Younger, formerly a member of Birds of Delay. This is the first Helm record I’ve heard and I don’t know why I still haven’t chased down the two preceding this one. Impossible Symmetry trades in the same smoked out, eerie minimalism that former and current members of Wolf Eyes are dealing with in their solo projects these days. But Helm sounds more calculated, less DIY. Younger’s other career as a sound artist is an obvious influence here as he reconstructs the Industrial vibes of his London birthplace in delicious stereo sound. Machines clank along cobblestone streets and dislocated voices chitter-chatter in the distance while city-scape ambience hums gently in the darkest corners of shadowy lanes and alley ways. In Helm’s world life and urbanisation are present but always out of reach.
Occasionally the clutter slips into a rhythmic shuffle which segues into the next lonely passage. Or vague vapour trails of melody seep out of sewage grates. These tiny details are perfectly placed to tantalise us. Impossible Symmetry is a great example of the Noise’s recent shift beyond DIY bang-stuff-to-make-new-sounds aesthetic of the 2000s. More and more artists are taking the fundamentals of Noise and using that to toy with traditional musicality – be it dynamics, tone or composition. If you enjoyed Mike Shiflet’s absolutely stunning The Choir, The Army from last year, then Helm’s Impossible Symmetry will be right up your alley.