One from the inbox! Felt like doing a bunch of drone/ambient stuff today.
Host are a noisy, dark, ritual ambient group from Australia. Host is the product of Nathan Jenkins, ex-The Amenta, who I have tremendous respect for after he played bass on one of my favorite albums, Occasus. Host have also toured with a bunch of metal artists including The Amenta, Ruins, and others. I have to say I definitely like the name of the album and the whole computing connotations that go along with it. Nothing is more abrasive to the psyche than segfaults, null pointer exceptions, and other programming frustrations. In fact the whole field of computer science is more or less a droning, ritual effort in its incessant but necessary tedium.
Like all good noise and ambient, the tracks on Null Pointer don't just persist in monotony for their entirety. "Know That I Am" opens with a calamitous roar and a pervasive, metallic echo like air being funneled into a bunch of PVC piping. The dull roaring pops up intermittently before the track becomes much more subdued, but following that a repetitious ascending whir takes over in the void of melody. It all sounds like crawling through an air duct and coming upon a vast network of industrial size fans. Very claustrophobic and very picturesque.
The same can be said of the other tracks. "Four Crooked Arms" has a very oceanic vibe with a tidal sound and a droning whistle. The imagery this music evokes for me is astounding, like walking through a glass canyon leading to a frigid coastline. Some of the higher pitched noises sound like rockfalls scratching the glass of the canyon, etching their impermanence into its sides. While I would describe the first two tracks as noisy dark ambient, the title track on Null Pointer is certainly ritualistic with its subtle bass thrums and even - dare I say - a melody. It has a pretty distinct sound compared to the other two tracks before it fades out with a noise reminiscent from the beginning of "Know That I Am."
There's plenty of static and graininess to Null Pointer, so if that's your thing you'll definitely enjoy this. It isn't harsh noise by any means, and it's pretty relaxing and visually appealing to listen to. This is a genre that I'm not wholly experienced with, and writing about it is still new to me, but I've been getting more into it with time. Host definitely have something going here though, and quite frankly I wasn't thinking as highly before I sat down and listened to it while writing. Null Pointer is definitely filled with great concentration sounds and plenty of mental imagery. I'll definitely be keeping tabs on Jenkins' future work.
7.75 out of 10
1. Know That I Am
2. Four Crooked Arms
3. Null Pointer
Also I really recommend trying out Host's cool little experiment titled Evolution. It takes various metadata from local financial, social, and meteorological services, converts them to soundwaves, and plays them over Host's music. Use only in Chrome. When I checked it out I got a churning low-end with some wooden sounding clicks and clacks.