Yen Pox – “Between The Horizon and The Abyss” – [Malignant Records]
Yen Pox is the long-standing, long-distance collaboration between Steven Hall (working in Indiana under the name Veil of Secrecy) and Michael J.V. Hensley (of the Washington state-based solo project Blood Box). Between the Horizon and the Abyss is the first Yen Pox full-length album in 15 years since 2000’s New Dark Age, and the extended effort clearly shows in these eight potent ambient tracks. As the title suggests, the sounds on this record reach across vast distances and unfold on geological time scales. The first half of the album explores the physical features of a new world – the noxious atmosphere (T.1), the acidic oceans (T.2), the mutated wilderness (T.3), and the barren plains (T.4). The vocal work of Dark Muse (Ruby Smith), droning and radiant, casts a conscious presence over the otherwise hard, physical soundscape. The second half of the record transmits funeral rites echoing in a narcotic cathedral. The rituals are alien but the throbbing, bottomless nausea of grief feels universal.