Been a damn good year for Library music and cerebral synth and now VHF brings a beauty to the forefront in the form of Fourth Density. The album is the second (in a series of three) from Daniel O’Sullivan (Æthenor, Ulver, Grumbling Fur) and it slides in nicely alongside releases from Maston and Six Organs of Admittance as one of the year’s best psychic soundtracks. O’Sullivan’s works plumb a combination of cosmic and pastoral — awash in synths, burbling pulses, and ethereal voices. O’Sullivan ties together eras with a nimble thread, threading his synths through Kosmiche and Krautrock alike while folding in thunderous drones, choral harmonies, folklore flutes, and Antony-esque vocal heartbreak. It’s the kind of album that feels like it might have been as at home on Ghost Box as it would be on Death Waltz. In no small part because O’Sullivan balances nostalgia’s edge well, but he also wields an imaginary soundtrack like a sacrificial dagger, carving the blood of the beast onto an altar of bone and exuming sorrows and primal shudders from deep within.
When his tracks are still, he’s able to conjure a darkness from the oppressive atmospheres around him, dredging the depths of his time with Æthenor into the record and marrying their anguish to his more dynamic palette here. Truth be told, as the album takes shape the connections to the Library world begins to flicker and fade. The songs are an affecting bedrock, but it’s hard to imagine them discorporated from one another. The collection works together in concert with each other like a lost ‘70s film, filled dark corners, haunting possession, love, loss, and not an insignifficant amount of blood. Honestly if Ari Aster or Panos Cosmatos don’t already have a composer lined up for new works of discomfort rendered in resplendent hues, this might work as an apt accompaniment. While a third installment is no doubt on the way, and his first brandishes discordant strings to great effect, its gonna be hard to top this as one of O’Sullivan’s most lasting works.
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.