Terminal Sound System crafts a bleak, highly personal beauty. It’s beauty that hints at a subliminal violence or perhaps some kind of gruelling past.
It’s the work of Melbourne artist Skye Klein, who’s Terminal Sound System project has evolved dramatically in the last decade and a half, via releases on labels as diverse as Extreme, Embryo, Sensory Projects and for his last four long players German label Denovali.
Throughout ‘The Endless Sea’ mood wrestles with song structure, as these torch songs for the apocalypse frequently descend into near silence or vague uncomfortable ambient sound design, where everything pauses and this swirling mass of synthetic digitalia, a unique combination of oscillating synth textures and treated voice just comes in waves.
There’s a fragility here, mostly exemplified by the (highly treated) human voice, or perhaps the warbly guitar, melding to the dark electronic tones, textures and the repetitive throbbing momentum building basslines. It’s music that seems to be going in multiple directions at once, often in the same song at the same moment. Then there’s all his different tracks; they can be bombastic stadium (electro) Goth one moment and then, almost motorik noir the next, before dipping into overwrought near ambient electrics. There’s so much going on, Endless Sea is a place where post Industrial Vangelis ‘Blade Runner’ electronics can mash seamlessly into some kind of noise folk and it all makes sense. It’s quite an achievement.
There is something refreshingly out of step and out of scene about ‘The Endless Sea;’ Skye covers so much terrain, yet it always feels highly distinctive, like it couldn’t have come from anyone else. Which makes it really difficult to describe what this is. And that’s what makes this strange beautiful beast so fascinating.