African Ghost Valley

LABELS : Hylé Tapes, Natural Sciences, Jungle Gym Records, Lost Angles, Never Anything, Empty Head Rich Heart, SØVN



Experimental electronic duo African Ghost Valley bring spacious and eerie atmospheres together to create trance inducing electronic noise vibrations, with heavy, loud and floating soundscapes created through recordings of hardware devices, concrete sounds and field recordings.


This ‘Canadian-European duo’ utilise samplers to craft their soundscapes, which cover a pretty wide range of tones across their debut tape ARA. ‘Cordillera’ blends pads and field recordings into a lush bed over which wonky synth lines tinkle, while opening track ‘Dunesl Ceremonies’ is a different kind of beast entirely, pulsating like an earthquake for an extended crescendo that delves deep into darkness. The title track and ten minute ‘Always Eat What You Kill’ (which takes up the entire flipside) aren’t as gripping as the opening pair of tracks, but the duo’s methodology, and the organic ways in which this music unfolds still make for a great listen. All manner of noise erupts from their samplers, and ultimately this is an impressive – albeit somewhat familiar – approach to freeform patchwork sound composition.

Dark Tropicals is a dense vision from African Ghost Valley, the duo irradiating jungle landscapes with their noxious sonics, enveloping territories with complete twilit atmospherics. To remove oneself from the concept of Dark Tropicals would be wasteful – the words have meaning, whispered under breaths as totemic mantras, each syllable a powerful spell cast on listener and vicinity alike. Life creeps, burdened by poisons unleashed by humans. Life recedes, all of it, as intelligences higher than ours increase the concentration of our chemical annihilation so that we, too, succumb to the encroaching uninhabitability. I’m such a downer today.

But dang, turns out if you let all this icky-sticky-ness leak into your mainframe, the resulting output sounds pretty cool, at the very, very least. Maybe this mass eradication is the cure for what ails the ol’ planet, or at least it’s the last gasp before we turn our top-of-the-food-chain-status certificates, the ones we all have laminated and stored neatly in our home offices, over to the hyperintelligent machines doing all that eradicating. The tropics have rotted, life is on the brink. It’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but without the happy ending! (I forget – did T2:JD have a happy ending?)

African Ghost Valley is anticipating the end. Bass bubbles form the foundation, and synthesizers pierce them with impunity. Dark Tropicals decays and rots before our ears. Become enmeshed in the decline.