Hollow Earth is the latest release from British electronic musician Martin Jenkins on UK record label Ghost Box. Unlike Pye Corner Audio’s previous release Stasis, which explored the gulf and majesty of interstellar mystery between planets to explore a strongly narrative work, Hollow Earth finds inspiration on planet. Underground. In that regard it is somewhat of a return to the tension of earlier works like Sleep Games. But penetrating those ideas of haunted concrete and urban abandonment deep into the subterranean.
Bracketed by opener ‘Descent’ and closer ‘Surfacing’, the journey through planetary crust where the sonic realms of uncanny chambers and lost cities feels very much like the ultimate Jules Verne soundtrack of Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, while teasing at theories around sleep, memory and the dream odyssey of a cave diver in a coma.
Current quantum physics research suggests matter is thought. This album is a great exploration of who is taking the universal journey? A human being? A metaphysical being? Matter itself? Or are all these things the same and experiencing each other simultaneously?
The chasms of pungent cathedral space, of immense geology, and of perception unfolding all potentially envelop the same exploration of existence in beautifully tentacle-like possibilities. These connection patterns work as an immense and entertaining terrain for Pye Corner Audio’s music.
Ghost Box artists are known for the eerie seventies electronica of grim British educational programs or equally grim dramas about the paranormal. Music of a time when lessons were punctuated by the drowning of a reckless child and superimposed faces of tricolour phantom chaos. Pye Corner Audio extends with forays of Berlin synth, orphaned disco and electronic music as a decoder that attempts to travel through the suspense of a greater reality.
I personally loved Stasis and was eagerly awaiting Hollow Earth and it does not disappoint. You can still dance and you are always afforded the option of breaking through to a fresh and exhilarating expanse. ‘Mindshaft’ and ‘The Seventh Labyrinth’ are particular favourites. Hollow Earth is meaty stuff, but it is also an adventure.