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Deathprod: Morals and Dogma

Deathprod: Morals and Dogma

Label:Rune Grammofon

By Steve Erickson | Posted 6/30/2004

Despite its name and all-black packaging, Deathprod’s Morals and Dogma is not heavy metal. It’s the solo project of producer Helge Sten, tape manipulator in noise-jazz group Supersilent, who credits himself with “audio virus.” Sten’s Deathprod typifies the adventurous eclecticism of Norway’s Rune Grammofon label (which has simultaneously released a four-CD box set containing Dogma and out-of-print and unreleased material) and sounds like a product of long, chilly nights. Dogma is a great soundtrack for a winter hike.

Too ominous to serve as mere background music, Deathprod grows more discomforting the longer you listen. Dogma rests on the fine line between ambient electronics and minimalist composers such as Pauline Oliveiros and La Monte Young, but that’s a deceptive comparison. Deathprod aims for dark drama. “Tron” slowly builds out of a steady drone, with coils of low-pitched sounds suggesting distant thunder; “Cloudchamber” evokes waves breaking on a beach. Whatever “audio virus” means, it’s not an easily recognizable instrument, and the contributions of other musicians on violin, saw, and harmonium are heavily treated beyond recognition. With repeated spins, however, Deathprod’s layered complexity becomes increasingly apparent: Morals and Dogma is the sound of dread, grounded in the real world and honed to perfection.

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