The music of Xela is not easily described. The alias of Type Records main-man John Twells, he has over the last decade moved through a dense fog of musical styles from abstract electronics to rusty soundscapes. In recent years his output has allied itself with darker realms, taking a liberal dose of influence from Norway's darker exponents, but retaining a deep and measured experimental focus.
'The Illuminated' was originally released on cassette, a format very fitting to the gloomy, waterlogged sounds; but having sold out in a matter of days it now recieves the much needed deluxe re-issue treatment. Taking cues from the cracked black metal of Burzum and Striborg and fusing this with heavy, synthesized noise 'The Illuminated' is possibly Xela's darkest, most spine-chilling work to date. We are taken through chiming Nurse With Wound-inspired soundscapes into Middle Eastern marketplaces and through caverns of thick, buzzing synthesized noise on the album's first piece. Entitled 'Black Scripture' this takes the dank religious themes of 'In Bocca Al Lupo' and goes even deeper into the Church dungeons, digging up lost artifacts and the angry spirits that accompany them. The flipside extends this heresy with a throaty vocal and distorted electric guitar, leaving blackened corpses and the traces of a sleepy village in its wake. Devastating and dark material, listen if you dare...
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Kirby is a genius of ambience and sound.
In contrast to his work under the Caretaker name, this album feels incredibly uplifting.
The booming percussion and massive, oppressive soundscapes communicate the jaded anxiety of modernity, but not without a reason to hope. Glittering strings and synths come out of the fray.
It is the auditory equivalent of your Dad telling you to pick yourself up, and get back in the game. indierising