Cindytalk have been a mainstay of Scottish experimental music since their early collaborations with Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil. 1984’s Camouflage Heart is one of the great early Goth albums, with its soaring, eldritch instrumental sections and drums from future Bad Seed Mick Harvey. Their continually evolving music has marked them out as one of the pioneers of the Darkwave and Industrial sounds of the late 80s, through Detroit Techno in the 90s and into a much more abstract form of electronic music since the turn of the millennium. They’ve collaborated with a diverse range of artists such as Alasdair Gray, Thurston Moore, and Ohio techno collective ele_mental.
Now fronted solely by Cinder, Scottish artist and remaining member of the original line-up, Cindytalk have released Subterminal, a continuation of the field recording-based work of 2021’s Of Ghosts and Buildings. Here Cinder continues to push her sonic experimentation into ever more conceptual territory.
The four pieces of music across the album go on a journey into the dark, with the crepuscular click and swishes of opening track ‘See Seer Seek’ setting the paranoid tone with an unsettling minimalism and the constant tingle of being watched. ‘Where Everything Sparkles and Shines’ plunges deeper and darker, an oppressive lull of somnambulant weight that jitters everytime it seems about to settle. It sets up the complete psychic break of the aptly titled ‘Systems Are Spiralling’; a fulsome reverberation of bass signals a collapse of logic, the tight restraint of the austere atmospherics collapsing into delirious entropy.
Finally; ‘We Fly Away With The Birds’ lifts the piece out of the gloom with a literal trill of birdsong and a hopeful, redemptive swoop of strings that feels like a chink of light growing through the gloom.
Cinder talks about her music as ‘poetry of noise’. This is very much a complete piece, each movement feeding and flowing into the next and taking the listener into an exploration of the tenebrous corners of the shadowy self.
Subterminal is out on 21st October on False Walls