String (Xvarr X Justin Tripp): Last Index Of… LP
Properly absorbing electronic enigmas from Zaheer Gulamhusein (Xvarr, Waswaas) and Justin Tripp (Georgia), following their noses down the rabbit hole into aether-chamber interzones adjacent to Coil, Conrad Schnitzler, Werkbund, and Jeff Mills’ deep space missions. A strong case of two artists transcending the sum of their parts, String present an immersive exploration of the unknown, realising a “virtual vacation” from which they never returned. Their quest somehow made it into the mitts of Hamburg’s V I S, where it follows the label’s Ditterich von Eulberg-Donnersberg (Werkbund) album with uniquely engaging findings from the brink; eight tracks rendered in swirling sci-fi noir tones, siren-like chorales and plangent off-planet pads scried with a kosmiche twinkle in their 3rd eye. In other words: the sort stuff you may well have come to these pages for. In its elusive fluidity and unfathomably spatialized scope, we find the duo fusing to project a sound that, without prior notice, would be difficult to attribute to either artist. There are no doubt traces of Zaheer’s new age toned work as Xvarr and the microtonal shimmer of Waswaas, and likewise Tripp's mutant sensibilities carried over from Georgia, but they’re distilled to a darker substance than anything we’d come to expect. It’s not so much gothic dark, more dark as in full of negative space, with a richly meditative appeal that threads their hardware improvisations from the Millsian deep space intrigue of ‘Phase Transition’ thru the eldritch eeriness of ‘World Line’, to the illusive choral motifs of ‘Fringe’ and oceanic abstraction of ‘From the End to the Beginning’, with glimmers of a more lush, idealistic hope in ‘Plus Operator’ and the cinematic ‘Degrees of Freedom’ that beautifully moderate the journey.