Shiver/Sterile Garden – Candle Burning Magic (C40, Diazepam)

candle burning magicShiver is the project of Mauro Sciaccaluga, who also runs Diazepam, and Sterile Garden is Jakob, Eric, and Joseph on amplified metal and electronics. On Candle Burning Magic, both projects bring a dark droning sound to this retro-looking cassette, offering harsh noise that would be great for a seance or ritualistic sacrifice.

First up is Shiver with his side-length “Either Forward or Reverse.” This is heavy with guitar and drones, a melancholy rhythm sprawled out across the side while behind it, percussive and staccato beats play out in a punctuated attack. Shiver adds various tape and field recording manipulations, often allowing them to barge into the mix; there’s a lot of banging and crackling like a chair being rolled over uneven floorboards, and the other layers even drop out for a little while to allow for these bangs to centralize. When more sound returns, it’s a cacophony of squealing and out-of-tune electronics with a semblance of the riff that used to be.

Eventually, a sound clip from the film Palindromes works its way in as well, cementing a theme for this work, and then Shiver really lets lose with a huge wall of static and accompanying background drones – there’s very little room within the swirls of chaos, but one can pick out some differing textures and electronic twists. There’s a lot of ambiance and darkness in the way it all builds to a sinister climax, and Shiver’s work here is quite affecting.

Sterile Garden’s side features on track, although it often incorporates moments of silence that tend to indicate a change in the make-up of the sound. It starts out with a blasting, modulated drone before a vibrating shimmery tone takes over. Sterile Garden use amplified metal and tape manipulations as their source, and one can definitely hear the contact mic-esque sounds generated from the metal – there are the standard electronics sounds like bass and percussive elements, but the whirring and drawn-out tones they generate seem to come from those metal materials. It has a unique feel to it that I found refreshing, a somewhat grating drone that doesn’t rely on straight feedback.

Candle Burning Magic is a good place to start for both artists, as this is a strong performance from both Shiver and Sterile Garden. Both artists get about 20 minutes per side, and they make the most of the time afforded. It’s a harsh and noisy cassette, and you can listen here.

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