For the official debut for his experimental project SadKarma, Finnish composer Vesa Partti has released a concept album in miniature, a 4-track EP that conjures images of nuclear annihilation and its future aftermath. "Millions Dead In A Flash" starts the story off with deep rumbling distortion, an extended passage of industrial ambient with occasional distant choral effects. Given the obvious theme of mass destruction indicated by the title, it's a track notable for its relative calmness, resembling not so much the violence of nuclear detonation itself but the quietude that would immediately follow; with everything at ground zero vaporized, however, there is no one to observe the awful tranquility. On Sadkarma's website, Partti tells us that "Solis," the second track, represents the fallout, both of the radioactive and emotional varieties, that would be generated by such an event, and it's indeed a haunting piece, with minimalist tones interrupted by the occasional echoing scrape of metal on metal as whatever wreckage left after the blast continues to fall apart, or, perhaps more likely, is scavenged by whatever remnants of humanity survived. By the end of this extended composition, however, the "Mad Max" imagery gives way to a subdued feeling of hope, evoked by folk-inspired acoustic guitar and hints of conversation. Partti's third composition, entitled "Soon All Of Our Parks Are In Cellars," hints at a new world of humanity's leftovers gone underground, putting together a new civilization from the scraps of the old, with soft synthesizers and a slow, motorized drone bringing forth images of a society built from decaying debris while melancholy but beautiful pianos remind us that human nature remains intact despite radically altered surroundings. SadKarma has created an opus that's haunting and somehow touching despite the inherent grimness of its themes. Highly recommended for fans of dark ambient, this EP brings a sense of the human that's far too often absent from the genre.
Visit http://vadelma.org/sadkarma/ and gaze into the apocalypse.
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