REVIEWS – Ad·ver·sary: Bone Music
Ambient textures perturbed by pounding crackles and drumbeats, Ad·ver·sary’s music is an experience of simultaneous ferocity and tranquility.
Canada’s Ad·ver·sary may not be too well-known in the States, though from the sound of Bone Music, he is poised to join in the ranks of such experimental industrial artists as Antigen Shift or Iszoloscope. As the brainchild of Jairus Khan, Ad·ver·sary’s music combines the distorted beats of power noise with melodic arrangements and experimental sound design, creating a shimmering mix of tranquility and ferocity. Originally conceived under the title of International Dark Skies, Bone Music has been three years in the making, finally finding its home on Tympanik Audio in conjunction with Glitch Mode Recordings, featuring new tracks and remixes to make Ad·ver·sary’s debut all the more intriguing.
One need only listen to “Friends of Father” for proof of this artist’s skill; with an ambient piano loop reminiscent of Boyd Rice’s NON, and leading into a dark cavern of pounding beats and minor-chord drones, this track simultaneously lulls and agitates, preparing the listener for the veritable cacophony of styles and atmospheres present on the rest of the album. “International Dark Skies” is little more than some deep bass pads amidst a subdued flurry of tribal drum patterns, while the title track is an upbeat dance number with trancelike ambient textures in the vein of early Autechre. Other tracks like the foreboding “No Exit,” with its screeching percussive attacks and bass loop, and “Number Nine,” which sounds like a descent into a subterranean tomb with subtle moans in the background for good measure, both build up gradually to a climactic array of tense industrial noise. The opening track “Ancients” begins with a dim swell of pads that eventually give way to a crescendo of frenetic breakbeats and sonic screeches, like being trapped on a runaway train racing perilously close to a devastating collision that comes in a resurgence of pads, though hardly the explosion one would expect. One of the more noteworthy tracks is “Waiting for Gira,” a brief but organic array of tribal drum patterns, thrumming bass, and noise-drenched guitars that build in tension only to end a little too suddenly. Tranquil washes of airy synths start “Just (Spooks)” off calmly enough, but once the pulsating electro beat comes in, we’re back on the dance floor with skittering samples and nice layers of glitch-laden electronics. A series of remixes close the album out as Tonikom offers their take on “Friends of Father,” while Antigen Shift’s remix of “Bone Music” is slightly more electronic in its percussive patterns than the original.
Bone Music is a rather impressive outing for Jairus Khan, proving that he has the chops to become a hero in the industrial music scene. With a hearty helping of melody and thoughtful arrangement coupled with a command of experimental noise and sound manipulation, Ad·ver·sary finds a balance between the brutal and the beautiful, sometimes unsettling and sometimes soothing, while still maintaining its own personality in the wake of a number of similar artists. Mastered by Iszoloscope’s Yann Faussurier, it may not be the most perfect release in the field of experimental electronic or industrial music, but Bone Music is certainly one fine collection of innovative music.
After a 10 year run as a techno/industrial DJ and promoter, Jairus Khan has emerged from the shadows with his own musical project named Ad-ver-sary. Released under the Tympanik Audio imprint, Ad-ver-sary’s debut album “Bone Music” offers a very well thought out and developed blend of instrumental industrial, EBM, ambient, and noise. The key to this album is Khan’s ability to blend organic soundscapes and harsh industrialized rhythms and noise in a way that strikes a balance between what many would consider to be two mutually exclusive musical forms. Indeed, throughout the album, neither approach dominates the other. Some of the stand out cuts from “Bone Music” include the album’s lead off track “Ancients” which utilizes very simple samples and effects that gradually build up into a very powerful and driving industrial tour de force that is harsh and mechanical while maintaining a sense of musicality, and “Waiting for Gira” which features a very ominous militaristic beat that is backed by subtle soundscapes and a very evocative guitar part that is interestingly reminiscent of U2. For those of you who like harder hitting noise driven pieces “No Exit” and “Number Nine” are aggressive and cacophonous workouts straight from the factory. Overall, “Bone Music” is a great album that provides a glimmer of hope that industrial music is not dead.
Jairus Khan is AD-VER-SARY. Already the name reveals various meanings such as the known one as an enemy or the Devil or Satan. In cryptography, the Adversary is “A malicious entity whose aim is to prevent the users of the cryptosystem from achieving their goal (primarily confidentiality, integrity and availability of data)”. Jairus is already involved in the music scene for a lone time being a Techno and Industrial DJ and doing promotional work for over a decade. After a creation process of over three years he’s now presenting his debut ‘Bone Music’.
01. Ancients – 7:44
If you just reason the music from its title, then you could think that a slow, brooding, dreamy track is awaiting you, yet this turns out to be a wrong conclusion though the track begins quite calm with reversed sounds and a few frisky, melancholic melodies, but the further the song progresses, the more it changes and evolves through different levels. Fast, constantly alternating rhythms with a techno character are dominating the song.
02. Waiting for Gira – 3:06
Another song another mood. The bit crushed sounds at the beginning don’t give away very mush of the character of the song, but then organic sounding percussions enter the arena, just to be followed by a bass and a massive drum line.
03. Friends of Father – 6:42
Friends of the slower, friskier sounds will surely love this one. It all begins with hovering, looped piano layers and a constant background noise until the beat kicks in and captures you immediately with its multiple colours and textures. Organic and broken beats are pleasing the ears. At a certain point, the mood reaches a turning point. All of a sudden it’s getting gloomy, even menacing. Dark violins and strings reach your ears and push the mood to the maximum. However, the rhythmical foundation is changing as well into a more experimental direction, where layer is put upon layer.
04. Bone Music – 7:14
‘Bone Music’ continues with a dark ambient theme and you can hear distant choirs, like from another world and sustained layers of dream-like atmospheres floating through the air. The rhythm, however is a truly different thing and can be seen as the counter part. It’s like two different worlds collide. Like an opposing force in a battle, the rhythms fight, they’re swelling up, getting more complex yet they never prevail, they’re never able to displace the ambience.
05. International Dark Skies – 7:08
Some time ago, I read a story from H.P Lovecraft, one of his better known stories ‘Dreams in the Witch House’ and the protagonist in that story mentions a rhythm He’s hearing, a rhythm passing through time and space and every wall. I instantly recalled those lines, when I listened to the rhythm of ‘International Dark Skies’, which is radiating a mesmerizing spell. It gets inside your head and stays there, while dull ambient textures are surround you and dragging you deeper into the fascinating aura of the track.
06. No Exit – 5:18
‘No Exit’ doesn’t carry that name without a reason. Right from the start it creates the feeling of being trapped inside a room or a difficult situation in your life and you just can’t find a way to escape. The beats are fast, broken and distorted and equipped with many layers. Somehow they seem to reflect a certain rage and the melody or distorted bass bears witness of despair.
07. Number Nine – 9:51
This is a true sonic monster and not just because of its running time of nearly ten minutes. After a comparatively quiet start, marked by speech samples and noisy, metallic cold ambience, dazing beat structures are fading into the mix. And the track reveals its true face and becomes the definition of sample infused sonic warfare to me. These ruthless rhythms give you no time to rest. They’re raining down on you like hail, building up walls made of beat infernos. There’s no escape, no shelter…
08. Just (Spooks) – 6:43
The booklet includes a wonderful text to this track which I’d like to quote here at first “There were huge clouds just above the river, impossible ribbons of pink and purple staining the sunset. The fog was the deepest shade of crystal blue, and it seemed to be reaching up to the sky, trying to find the stars. „An absolutely beautiful picture, he’s painting and he was able to capture these very moments and to transform it into music, where crystalline piano lines and angelic choirs creating the feeling of being witness to a sunset, a magical moment of every day, when the daylight becomes the twilight to subsequently turn into the darkest night sky. Compared against this, the rhythms are very crisp and massive, making the earth quake underneath your feet.
09. Epilogue – 1:01
Only a speech sample with a closing sentence, you can’t add anything to. “Every person, without exception, is capable of doing the worsted things, just to live another minute.”
10. Friends of Father (Tonikom Remix) – 6:03
We’re entering the remix section and hear that TONIKOM gave ‘Friends of Father’ a genuine rework. Nothing with slow, brooding rhythms anymore, this one’s been completely replaced by with a much more vivid sequence of break beats and reversed sounds. I would call it danceable but that doesn’t exactly hit the core, but it clearly goes into e similar direction. Also my favourite element, the dark string arrangements have found their way into this rework.
11. Bone Music (Antigen Shift Remix) – 4:46
You can’t consider this one as a typical remix work either. Completely different sounds have been used for the beats and there’s much more vehemence behind them so they could tear down walls. Also I felt the ambient elements being very chary in the mix.
12. Number Nine (Synapscape Remix) – 4:04
The untamed violence of ‘Number Nine’ cut down to 4 minutes. That doesn’t work??? Yes it does and it’s indeed a bit creepy how concentrated the salvoes of beats come out of the speakers. The power which is unleashed here very much resembles the one of the original.
13. Urusai: Learned Helplessness (Destroy & Contaminate Mix by Adversary) – 7:57
As a bonus comes a remix Jairus made for another Canadian ambient/industrial project and it presents itself with lots of sound wizardry with extended synth layers in the back. Organic percussions fuse with electronic beats and samples. With the speech samples it also hints on the ‘Duck & Cover’ method, the US taught to generations of children until the 1980s. It was said to be a method of personal protection against the effects of a nuclear detonation. From a today’s perspective, it is elusive why people actually believed this.
Before I received the copy of this album, I listened to some track son the project’s MySpace profile and to be honest, I wasn’t that excited by what I heard, but you should never jump to the conclusion, that something isn’t good if you haven’t heard the entire record a few times because there is music that needs to grow first and listening to the full album a couple of times changed my opinion. A quality blend of the organic and the electronic, the destructive power of distorted beats and complex arrangements side by side with the majestic beauty of ambient textures … Feelings made audible.
Jairus Khan aka Ad-ver-sary is a Canadian artist we discover through some remixes he made for Converter and Iszoloscope. It took more or less 3 years to this musician to write and achieve his debut release. It’s for sure a good thing to remain patient when composing your first release. Ad-ver-sary seemed to have taken the time to meticulously elaborate and create an own sound. The result is a fascinating mix between astonishing rhythms and well-crafted ambient atmospheres. The rhythmic is an essential element in the music. The complexity and power of the rhythms is simply great. It moves in between ritual and tribal styles while it sounds industrial as well. The percussion for sure makes the sound identity of this project! Behind this overwhelming rhythmic side comes a sonic puzzle of cold ambient soundsculptures. Here again Ad-ver-sary surprises in maturity and especially in knowledge for creating such arrangements. The main mood of this ambient part sounds definitely cold and a bit industrial like as well while some cool samplings have been added on top. It’s not that easy to define the style of this project, but once again Tympanik Audio has signed a progressive ambient project covering a wider layer of influences. Once again it’s quite difficult to give you some favorite tracks as the entire album is worthy of examination. The tracks “Number Nine” and “Just (Spooks)” are probably both belonging to the best part of this album. As a bonus we also get remixes by Tonikom, Antigen Shift and Synapscape. Tonikom did a cool job on the remix of “Friends Of Father” sounding less dark while the remix of “Number nine” by Synapscape is also quite well-done. One more great release on the promising Tympanik Audio!(DP:8)DP.
Ad-Ver-Sary’s Bone Music on Tympanik Audio (their output in the past year has been consistently prolific), sheds light on a more introspective industrial electronic approach. “International Dark Skies,” similar to Richard Devine, Einoma and Sunao Inami, treds on slow moving water with dripping beats and echoed effects at its core.
The still relatively unknown Ad.ver.sary project of the Canadian Jairus Khan surprises with a debut album which combines the best of spherical ambient IDM and technoid rhythmic industrial. Here the worlds of Asche and Converter on the one hand and acts like Displacer and Tonikom, merge into a perfect one. But beware, Bone Music s an album with tracks that aim for the dancefloor with a focus on the rhythms. Constantly changing patterns and sound textures in the various tracks go well together with technoid atmospheres and in a song such as ‘Waiting for Gira’ also a rocking guitar and bass lick is included, later joined by heavy drums. At other moments a track is build up with piano loops and violins to create a more majestic atmosphere together with slowed-down breakbeats. Next up are atmospheres which are more claustrophobic and threatening, with fast distorted beats and glitch sounds. What is striking is that the compositions have been carefully arranged, with layer upon layer resulting in a complex microcosm of sampled sounds, synth textures and rhythms. ‘Ancient’ perfectly illustrates this. Also the aggressive ‘Number Nine’ is an impressive sonic spectacle, which in the remix by Synapscape gets a more compact treatment. Bone Music is a refreshing album in this genre and it furthermore combines a wide array of electronic influences into a complex yet terrifying cold sound. The album furthermore contains remixes from Tonikom and Antigen Shift and a bonustrack, in which Ad.ver.sary has remixed fellow Canadians Urusai. Recommended and also another splendid release from the young Tympanik Audio label.
Der musikalische Underground Kanadas beherbergt einige Schätze, zu denen sich auch Ad.ver.sary zählen können. Im Bereich der elektronischen Klangerzeugung geht das Projekt von Jairus Khan ungewöhnliche und gleichzeitig auch spannende Wege. Die Songs auf „Bone Music” zeichnen sich durch immer intensiver werdende Thematiken. Die Songs arbeiten mit minimalen Melodien, durchlaufen diese aber durch verschiedene Sequenzen, Filter und Intensitäten. So beginnt beispielsweise „Ancients” relativ ruhig, steigert sich aber innerhalb der Komposition: da kommen zunächst blecherne Bassdrums, ehe dann ein gnadenloser Vierviertelbeat den Song nach vorne treibt. „Waiting For Gira” zeichnet sich durch einen fast psychedelischen Rocksound aus, der ebenfalls minimal, aber dafür intensiv ist. „Friends Of Father” könnte mit seiner sinistren Stimmung auch ein Massive Attack oder Protishead Song sein. Ganz anders wiederum „No Exit”, ein Industrialtrack vor dem Herrn: Verzerrte Beats, dezente Synthieparts, viel Energie. Ad.ver.sary scheint sich in allen Bereichen der elektronischen Musik heimisch zu fühlen und so arbeitet er unbeirrt alles ab, was ihm im Kopf so vorschwebte. Allerdings macht diese Vielfältigkeit das Album gegen Ende ziemlich fahrig und zerfranst. Und mit über 75 Minuten Spielzeit muss sich der Hörer ziemlich stark konzentrieren, um nicht den Faden zu verlieren. „Bone Music” ist der Beweis, dass es immer noch Überraschungen gibt, was Klänge und Sounds angeht, allerdings wäre hier die Konzentration auf eine Sparte dem Werk zuträglich gewesen. (4/6) – Nuuc
Enochian Apocalypse – Patient Canadian Jairus Kkan has finally found an outlet for his music, and about time too. Bone Music is a cracking blend of Industrial, distorted beat splattered with flashes of orchestral and soundtrack structures.
What first hits you is just how organic this album sounds. This is all helped along of course by the mastering work of Iszoloscope’s Yann Faussurier and with some of the rhythmical patterns dished out you could be forgiven for sometimes being reminded of his fellow Canadian. That can be no bad thing though and is also a credible endorsement.
What I really liked with this release is the simplicity in which it approaches you. Jairus manages to hold his own with the distorted beat crowd, yet still can produce some decent cinematic crushing soundscapes to boot. It’s not rocket science, its not over technical, it just works, and Ad.ver.sary should find its home in any club or your front living room when you need to relax, as well as when you hit the dancefloor.
Only a couple of niggles, more personal tastes than anything else. I don’t like samples taken from ‘The Prisoner’ as these have been over used, and a bonus track is never a bonus track if there isn’t another format to go by. But like I state these are minor and pale away when you listen to the album in its full glory.
A sincere, fun and sold debut. Lets not wait so long the next one please Mr Khan.
7.8/10 – Tony Young
Connexion Bizarre – In this day and age, where excellent electronic music is abundant and generally not very hard to find (if you make the small effort to search for it), it’s rare that I’m actually moved beyond the aesthetic pleasure of hearing something really good. Maybe I’ve just become jaded from being exposed to so much music throughout the years, I don’t know. But Ad·ver·sary’s (a.k.a. Jairus Khan) debut full-length album, “Bone Music,” moved me to feeling… more.
That said, “Bone Music” is also a significant release on a completely different level. It was released under a Canadian Creative Commons license, which means you can download the album for free, with liner notes and everything, from his website. If you’re so inclined, you can also do the man, and his record label Tympanik Audio, a favour by actually buying the CD from him.
This isn’t a groundbreaking album by any means. It is, however, a deeply personal album made from a masterfully produced mix of genres. A lot of the more danceable songs (read: potential club-stompers) on “Bone Music” have a structure, drive, length and beat buildup similar to progressive psytrance, but with the introverted characteristic of old school post-industrial gloom, the stylistic (almost theatrical) variation in rhythm and melody seen in Big Beat music, and sometimes even the no-nonsense, hard-edged abrasiveness of hardcore techno, darkcore and powernoise. The bass-heavy, contemplative and minimalistic synth lines (contrasting the thumping, driving rhythms) build up to a sudden shift in mood, an outward-reaching climax that lasts several minutes, making it hard for any listener to not get up and dance.
The use of breaks and rhythm in songs such as “No Exit,” “Just (Spooks)” and “Number Nine” remind me somewhat of Iszoloscope, but the melodies have a certain air of melancholy introspectiveness that more than anything makes me think of Coil. That air of melancholy is even more noticeable on the slower tracks that – instead of fast, driving rhythms – rely on heavy, tribal percussion (“International Dark Skies”), acoustic strings (the very dark “Friends of Father”) and even drone rock (in the Swans tribute, “Waiting For Gira”), making for some exceptionally powerful songs.
I’m not completely sure what it is about this album. It almost forces me look back at my life. Listening to this, I think back to being a little boy, my dad listening to old Pakistani folk songs on the stereo, and adventure movies on TV. I don’t know if it’s because it’s simply that fucking good, or if it’s just the way that the references in the samples (like cult TV-series “The Prisoner”) coupled with the melancholy, bassy melodies and drum work, somehow appeals to my subconscious.
In the end, the only negative thing I really have to say about this album is – and while I’m sure it’s a good way to help it gain some much needed attention – three of the four remixes on the album (though not bad by any means!) don’t really do anything for me at all. However, the final track, the Ad·ver·sary remix of the Urusai song “Learned Helplessness” is nothing short of stellar, and fits perfectly with the rest of the songs on “Bone Music.” — Jonas Mansoor [8/10]