Autumn Wind Productions, 2006
1. Uranium Mines
2. Nuclear Storms
3. Suffocate.Acid Vomit
4. Disfigured Children.Radioactive Generation
5. Human Genocide
When I saw the cover of this I really couldn't resist giving it a try. For some reason machinery or technology attracts me in terms of ambient. I had no idea what I was really in for when I picked up this 20.SV album, nor had I ever heard of them. Here we have the Autumn Wind Productions re-release on CD of 20.SV's demo tape first released in 2004. The music is self described as “Industrialized Post Apocalyptic Bio-Nuclear Radiative Frequencies.” Honestly, that’s exactly what this is, but I will try to delve a little deeper into this.
First impression when I initially got this album, I was extremely angry. It doesn't come in a jewel case. I paid ten dollars for the thing and it’s a stupid cardboard sleeve. Similar to what you would find a promo in, but this is not a promo. This is seriously the full on album. I’m not entirely sure who the deciding party was, be it the artist or the label that insisted on this kind of packaging, but it is not what I wanted to spend ten dollars on. So at that price this better be some immensely interesting material. Thankfully, what I thought I was getting musically did not disappoint. The artwork as a whole is really great, so I am rather disappointed a full booklet was not made, I think looking through the imagery would only enhance the overall experience.
Let me first point this out, if you’re expecting some nice relaxing ambient material, you have come to the wrong place. This stuff seriously borders on the realms of noise, it is very harsh. However, this deals with some of my favorite approaches imagery wise. It primarily deals with post-apocalyptic imagery. Some people are into horror movies, some like science fiction, for me its post apocalyptic. You could say I’m somewhat obsessed with this; I read a good amount of books in this setting and own a great deal of movies in this setting as well. It is bar-none my absolutely favorite topic. I love seeing the human race in absolute shambles, struggling to survive in the outskirts of the radiation zones after a nuclear war. I’m not sure entirely why, but that whole scenario is something that I just really enjoy and I can really latch onto it. I think in some ways it’s a highly realistic threat, so to envision a post apocalyptic society is quite interesting to me. What will humans do? Not all of us might die? How will we live if most of the resources are contaminated? You know; all that wonderful enjoyable stuff.
This disc is actually two albums in one, or two demos, I should say. I own both of the demos separately, but I typically opt to listen to the CD over listening to the tape. The demo art was rather useless, so I’m glad they stepped up to the plate when they finally pressed it on CD, regardless of the fact it was only put in a slipcase. Seriously this is the cover of the cassette:
I think the first demo started off mostly as an experiment, but just grew and turned into something much more.
Alright, so what does this entirely sound like? You know ambient/noise is not the easiest thing to describe. Basically, here’s how I would lay it out. If you've ever heard a Soundscape album, say something like Northaunt, take those atmospheres conceptually and then layer them in heaping amounts of static. Different aspects are highlighted in very strange ways. This really gives it the real feeling that you are listening to music under a very thick layer of radiation. However, it does maintain that droning affect that is created when you listen to Soundscapes. Granted this won’t be for everyone, not everyone really likes to be kept on edge, maybe fans of something like Atrium Carceri, but most people don’t when it comes to this kind of material. I, on the other hand, am in a state of mind that is far less than normal, so I love this stuff. I don’t think putting things in static is a new concept, but taking it to the degree 20.SV do, I think it is. I’ve never really heard anything quite like this and I've heard quite a great deal of material from the Ambient genre. This sounds less like music and more like frequency fluctuations, and for a good portion, I think that’s all it really is, as if someone is turning a dial rather than hitting a keyboard. You can hear some Soundscape aspects underneath the whole concept, especially, somewhere in “Human Genocide”, and “Disfigured Children (Radioactive Generation)” opens with an interesting melody. So it’s not just straight static you hear with this recording, it’s immensely hard to describe because the static fluctuations are really what make this a wonderful thing in my eyes.
In terms of order this is slightly confusing. In the “Acid Vomit” sequence it sounds like everything is entirely layered in radiation. Yet when you listen to “Human Genocide” you can clearly hear bombs screeching through the air and exploding, again under a thick layer of radiation. Maybe this takes place prior to the initial nuclear bombing, but there is still fighting breaking out across the world, so a real aftermath hasn't truly set in yet. Which sort of makes sense, after the entire current world is destroyed; I assume many will vie for control in their own way. After the bombing sequence on “Human Genocide” it does pan out to something a bit more “relaxing” you could say. The sequence ends wonderfully and only leaves me wanting to hear more! Which, I’m sure; many people would be surprised to be saying at this point.
20.SV, just noise? Sure some people will say that immediately and dismiss it, but for me, it’s simply beautiful. This is expertly portrayed and layered and it paints a wonderful picture of living life under a radioactive environment. For those who enjoy their more experimental aspects and are a bit more open minded to the unorthodox, then this is something for you to observe! This is especially of interest to anyone who enjoys the post apocalyptic story as much as I do. Anyone who enjoys that scenario will surely love these two recordings. In fact, in the novel "Level 7," I would say they should have done away with playing classical music on the radio and played 20.SV instead. I think it would've been a more appropriate picture to paint for the people there.