The Stalker and His Desire

What do you get when you have two juggernaut artists, who not only pump out excellent albums within a year of each other consistently, and are on top of their respected "niche" in ambient decide to work together? The answer is a qualitatively dark album with absence of light with Stalker, an eerily grief-stricken journey within the desires of one man.

The album influence is based off the film with the same name, which was directed by legendary Andrei Tarkovsky. Much like Tarvosky's work, Stalker shifts from illusions of the mind, inner-most desires, and paranoia - something that makes this concept very attractive for ambient listeners.

The menacing noise that spews from downright annoyance to general harmony in "Elemental Trigger" is creepy. Slow, dimmed whispers in your ear move in swirls while the progression of the music pushes the tone ever so slightly, mixing various distractions and illusionary ambience in its way. This is where Rich and Lustmord begin the journey into "The Zone", a forbidden area described in Tarkovsky film where a man can bring his inner-most desires to life if they should reach a magical spot called "The Room". The stretch from reality to idealism is what should be brought to the forefront when discussing this piece of music.

What is clear with this collaboration is their clear reliance on each other's strengths. Lustmord's uncanny magic as a dark ambient conjurer is easily placed within the framework of Stalker, but you realize delving into the album that Rich's rather light, harmonic, free-form influences as a ambient artist have melded with Lustmord's dark menacing and all-time vexing sound that only elevate this album's quality. Stalker may seems like an all-together fine dark ambient album, but its ties with the film give a clear visual perception to what they're trying to accomplish, something that helps immensely as you try to picture where this "anxious man's" perceptions of reality, spiraling paranoia, and lust for what he wants is placed with each track. And it clearly isn't hard to guess.

"Synergistic Perceptions" uses its low tone and scaling background to provide something of a reminder to the listener of ongoing conflicts when many observations are discovered one can handle in any moment. "Synergistic" is simple terms is the whole is greater than the sum of all the individual parts. Could these men have seen something so inconspicuous that he doesn't necessarily understand what it means? Maybe I'm just rambling over bull***, but it seems that more and more listens Stalker receives the more questions I keep asking myself.

A lucid interlacing of these two ambient musicians comes in clear focus on "Delusional Fields", the first half is dominated by the passive meandering darkness and is shifted towards Rich's musical strengths. Essentially it progresses without any hindrance, which is what Stalker is great at - the development of a clear, functional, ever-growing sound, yet aptly moving at a perfect pace.

It could just be all a delusion after all, what makes something real? Is it our own pre-conceived reality that does or can it be shattered by one string of incidents? I'm not sure the mind can truly understand something that complex (for these purposes let's say it does), which would probably would lead to insanity or massive disillusionment. Is your hunger for something so desirable or so far away push you off the edge as it seems to do when the stalker and his companions try to reach "The Room" while journeying through the deserted, desolate Zone? Clearly it does, it did to Tarkovsky and it sure as hell does for Rich and Lustmord.

Grade: A


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