Michael Idehall: Deep Code

deep Here’s something you don’t see very much in underground music today, an artist that goes by their real name.  If it’s not his real name, well, then this is like totally weird and probably cutting edge to somebody out there.  Michael Idehall is an artist/musician (as well as other things including author) from out of Sweden who was our first introduction, entirely at random, to the post avant-guarde pop label Beläten.  Yeah, that’s the stuff.  New genre with ‘post’ attached to it?  Yes, give it to us.  Give it to us in black and white with the sweetness of depression and the occult.  Idehall previously released a cassette entitled SOL in 2012, and this one is hot off of the reels, though we, sigh, had to rely on the digital version to review it.  Talk about contradiction.  But, contradiction in our hearts aside, Deep Code embodies what most of the better gloomy electronic acts of the current era are doing.  Keeping it dark, sometimes simple, but dark, foreboding, with that old-style bite of basics we remember from bands like Coil and Throbbing Gristle.  The latter for beat, the former for substance.  Take the good of those two, toss out the worthless, and combine and insert into tape deck for Deep Code.


The opener is almost like your player degrading, chunks of unblown dust cramming into the gears and gumming up the oil, turning it into some sort of steam-operated cult machine, it’s just unfortunate it’s so ill-fitting to the rest.  “Tusked” combines a variety of odd electronic sweeps, and is the only point in the entire album that could have been cut, because it serves no real purpose and certainly does not prepare you for much of anything that comes after.  “Omphalos,” however, is where it should have all begun, as it becomes the incessant chant that drives the rest of the work, symbolically speaking.  Idehall here is at his height of power, the apex of his conjuration of electronic spirit music.  The simple, primitive electronic pulse behind this particular track, as well as a similar structuring approach taken in others, is what gives Deep Code its greatest drive.  Most of the music creates substance through repetition, but interestingly it also relies heavily on layering.  Thus, though sounds may repeat, there are numerous levels to investigate, with vocals having either a dominant focus or whispering in the back like someone spiraling into death down a waterlogged trench.


This utilization of two main veins of sound are what makes Deep Code so enjoyable.  Repetition can often destroy any release, and going back to Throbbing Gristle can easily prove it.  Visionaries?  Yes, sure, but let’s just say they lacked the proper understanding of their own technology, and probably still do.  20 Jazz Funk Greats, for example, is often listed as one of the most important albums of the 20th century, but everyone seems to forget there was only a single frikken song on it worth a listen.  Idehall, however, keeps the listener’s attention throughout.  There’s something of an antiquated, vintage feel to his electronics.  Not in the sense of actual sound as much as presence, which is critical to the appreciation of his work.  It calls to mind images of Edwardian society consuming spiritualism, 70s freakonauts tripping and practicing black magic, and sex cults that would make The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn refute its entire history.  He does dabble a bit in noise, which is a detriment to the rest of Deep Code, but it serves as a permissible respite, other than the first and last tracks, which are a throwaway.  Only once does ‘the noise’ work in “Beast Mask.”  But aside from that, Deep Code has a lot of depth, and we here look forward to Idehall’s future work and what Beläten may hold in store, because we see they released Trepaningsritualen’s The Totality of Death, which we received from Malignant Recordings on CD.  Should be some great stuff from both in the future based on this one selection.


Michael Idehall’s Official Site

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Michael Idehall: Deep Code
4 / 5