From an upcoming issue of ReGen:
Canada’s Ad·ver·sary may not be too well-known in the States, though from the sound of International Dark Skies, he is poised to join in the ranks of such experimental music luminaries as Download and perhaps even Coil. As the brainchild of Jairus Khan, Ad·ver·sary’s music combines the distorted beats of power noise with melodic arrangements and experimental sound design, not unlike what you’d hear from artists on the Frozen Empire Media roster like Antigen Shift or Iszoloscope.
One need only listen to the opening track, “Friends of Father” for proof; with an ambient piano loop reminiscent of Boyd Rice’s NON, and leading into a dark cavern of pounding beats and minor-chord drones, this track simultaneously lulls and agitates, preparing the listener for the veritable cacophony of styles and atmospheres present on the rest of the album. The title track is little more than some deep bass pads amidst a subdued flurry of tribal drum patterns, while “Bone Music” is an upbeat dance number with trancelike ambient textures. Other tracks like the foreboding “No Exit,” with its screeching percussive attacks and bass loop, and “Number Nine,” which sounds like a descent into a subterranean tomb with subtle moans in the background for good measure, both build up gradually to a climactic array of tense industrial noise. “Darker” resonates with its waves of distorted ring modulator synths, giving us the last track of original material before the three remixes at the end.
Oddly enough, these remixes are not of Ad·ver·sary tracks, but are rather Ad·ver·sary’s remixes for Converter, Iszoloscope, and Urusai. The Creeper mix of Converter’s “Cloud’s Eye” begins with some light percussive loops and low-key pads, steadily moving down a winding road of static and noise beats, before reaching an abrupt end. The Winter is Forever mix of “28c and Falling” by Iszoloscope is much more straightforward; after a brief intro of dripping synths and samples, the beats kick in for a series pounding rhythmic attacks. Closing things out is the Destroy and Contaminate mix of Urusai’s “Learned Helplessness.” Soothing washes of airy synths and passive breakbeats start the track off calmly enough, with some scattered samples amidst the firm buildup to a noisy and climactic finish.
International Dark Skies is a rather impressive outing for Jairus Khan, proving that he has the chops to become a hero in the industrial music scene. With a hearty helping of melody and thoughtful arrangement coupled with a command of experimental noise and sound manipulation, Ad·ver·sary finds a balance between the brutal and the beautiful, while still maintaining its own personality in the wake of a number of similar artists. Sometimes unsettling and sometimes soothing, it may not be the most perfect release in the field of experimental electronic or industrial music, but International Dark Skies is certainly one fine collection of truly innovative music.