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Oneirogen: Kiasma

NY composer’s new trip is not for those of a nervous disposition.

Oneirogen is a vehicle for the strange, often stark sound world of New York composer Mario Diaz de Leon, who debuted the project with the 2012 album Hypnos. The follow-up is, if anything, even denser, darker and more foreboding – an auditory bad trip that’s not for the faint hearted.

After a relatively melodic overture, Kiasma plunges headlong into a boiling abyss of industrial, dark ambient and good old-fashioned noise. The sheets of metallic guitar that rendered Hypnos heavy without being metal are also here in force, with distortion set somewhere up there between cheese grater and sandpaper.

Track titles such as Pathogen and Mutilation suggest a decidedly nihilistic and possibly misanthropic inspiration. Largely experimental in nature, it throws up the occasional fleeting moment of pseudo-serenity that fans of hard-edged electronica and darkwave may enjoy, but ultimately it’s a din born of intensity and brutality.

The linear compositional style lends it a certain cinematic quality – the soundtrack to unsettling scenes just out of sight – and therein lies its weakness. It’s not a film score, but it feels like one – a few dramatic highlights lost in incidental froth.