Reviewed by Gird_09
I imagine myself flying over the antarctic. Low, in a small aircraft. The sunlight is reflected off the cold snow and ice, and it's almost blinding me. Beneath the wings a vast emptiness is unfolding, and stretches on forever. No real features, but an endless white plain beneath an endless blue sky. This is the feeling I get from listening to the opening of Breaking Down into his oblivion. It's cold, it's minmalist and devoid of life (in a good way).
The first track of the album, "BD's lament", evolves so slowly you hardly notice time passing by, and suddenly you find yourself listening to soothing melodies supporting snippets of an obscure female voice telling me "He's breaking down to his own oblivion". The track may not be as dark as it promises to be, but that is certainly soon ammended.
The second track is by far the longest, at over 20 minutes, and gives the listener time to fully explore the universe Schuster provides us with. "I am living in my own corpse" is an ominous and perhaps depressing title for the track, but it fits. I fully enjoy the extreme minimalism of it and find myself breathing slower and easier. There is an unsettling element to this track however. By now we've clearly landed and are in fact spelunking in a vast cold maze. The tiny little squeeks in the background of this track makes me think of birds and other small animals. Ugly birds with blind eyes and no feathers on their stark red heads. Their shrill voices are accompanied by distant sounds of humans subjected to some unknown torture. Perhaps medical experiments. It's getting evident that we're no longer in the arctic, but somewhere underneath the wind blasted plateu of Leng, and this cavernous structure should be left alone. I love it. It's the perfect cross between Lovecraft and Biosphere. There is no doubt that this is my favorite track of the album.
The glitchy and syncopated beats that start "Your house is marked" catches me off guard. The change of style is quite surprising, but the track manages to fit in regardless. The mood and theme is the same as that of the first two tracks. Still if I had to leave out a track it would have to be this one. After this break of pace however "Manasarovar" is ready to calm you down once more with it's mongolian style drones and massive crash cymbals. Considering the fact that I've allready been teleported to Lovecraftian realms by "I am living in my own corpse" the mysticism of this track is highly unsettling. No longer in the arctic, but in a desert, surrounded by broken pillars and ancient ruins. Still the landscape is mostly flat and featureless, and I have a feeling of being completely isolated. The final track "Burdened" is a good ending to the album. Like the other tracks it has it's own personality but fits well into the overall scheme of the album. The desperation of the voice sample in the background adds depth to the track, and serves as a good reminder of the fucked up world we live in. If we ever needed one...
If I have to say something negative about the album as a whole I'd say that it's slightly long. I know people want as much sound as possible for their money, but I think anything that happes after fifty minutes is superfluous. It's hard to maintain full concentration for that long, and there are few albums that prove me wrong in this assumption. Personally I'd consider breaking this album into two different releases, and keep the fans wanting more, rather than giving them too much.
Australia, Adept sound, CD album, 2010
1 BD's lament [10:59]
2 I am living in my own corpse [20:40]
3 Your house is marked [9:05]
4 Manasarovar [9:01]
5 Burdened [8:38]
http://www.myspace.com/ltschuster (Where several of the tracks can be sampled.)