Once you pledge allegiance to the nightlife, be it for an odd weekend episode or for a lifetime, not much seems to be going on in the outside world anymore. There is no palpable threshold to circle the darkened territory where one’s mind can wander to relentless beats and sound waves. Whether you gravitate towards the light or towards melancholic introspection, it’s all going on there, on an abstract level where you do no harm and cannot be harmed.
You’re on a temporary autonomous playground to which the only limit is your own imagination - this sphere becomes convenient and karmically fair and you’re a better person knowing that whatever you think or do, you still live and let live. Avoid to call it escapism or entertainment. And if the self-hypnosis ever fails, you can pause and congratulate yourself. By all the standards of a society of the spectacle, you must be doing something right. It all breaks when you see the daylight and you hear the roaring of the streets. There’s not much difference after all, since everybody’s on a mission to chase the next thrill or achievable distraction. Beyond the comfortable polyester veils of the first world, there are some things you would rather not know about. Abdulla Rashim’s project, Lundin Oil, is going there. And drills as sharp as possible into its nerve centers.
Lundin Oil is a conceptual project which tackles in a heavy way a heavy subject, by all ethical standards of the industrial, contemporary status quo. It hints at an ongoing controversy with gloomy environmental and human implications, revolving around Swedish oil company whose name it makes reference to. By this, it perpetuates an ingrained characteristic of industrial music - that of exploring and translating into crushing, sound-weaved atmospheres the somber side of reality as we don’t know it. Usually, with such awareness comes judgment - and this is what Lundin Oil smartly avoids, while focusing on the ability to recreate a lived event by means of carefully designed, rhythmic sound textures.
In the philosophy of mind, a thesis called multiple realizability contends that a single mental kind (property, state, event) can be realized by many distinct physical kinds. The experience of pain seems to be the philosophers’ favorite in exemplifying this theory. A wide variety of physical properties, states, or events, sharing no features in common, can all realize the same intensity of pain. And what is idiosyncratic about Lundin Oil is the ability to induce this perceptive state to which the Lundin affair is a real, nevertheless, pretext to a sensory, hypodermic experience.
The track titles insinuate the story through graphic buzz words that stick in mind while we fill in the blanks, clinging to evocative and massive aural substance. Spawning over two records, “Black Gold Grey Debt” and the more recent “North Gate”, Lundin Oil constructs a cinematic, haunting narrative of “Board Meetings”, “Ethics Borderlands” and “White Success” at the price of “Trading in Souls” and ultimately, genocide. It is indeed intense and not for the faint of heart, faith or hearing.
“North Gate” picks up the thread, from the point in which “Black Gold Grey Debt” left it and I would suggest listening to one release after another, for the full experience. The last track of “Black Gold..”, “Assisting Genocide”, unfurls over a dense drone, doubled by a ghostly diaphanous lining. “North Gate” opens up sustaining that already familiar, cold and throbbing base note, stripping it of any cathartic layering. Volumes fluctuate and evoke a crushing concentration of decibels. Distorted echoes of what could be voices, counterpoint subtly the electric humming and the result is a chill-inducing incursion of experimental suspense. “Peeled-Off Faces” sets in motion a trance-inducing, techno phrasing, where clean and crystalline beats overlap with harsh interferences.
One of the trademarks of Abdulla Rashim’s techno is that of daring rhythmic explorations and an awareness of the hypnotic properties of such patterns, absorbed from his acknowledgement of Arabic and African cultures. This surfaces obviously throughout the tense ambiance of “North Gate”, especially in the structure of its core tracks, “They Need Tragedy” and “Peeled Off Faces”. This is not your average techno to dance to. It is a conscious trip to the subconscious, directed towards your darkest thickest visceral emotions. “White Success” is a logical derivative of tragedy as a triumphant, soothing emergence of catharsis.
Whether at a first listen and research past industrial attempts at political subjects come to mind, such as Raksha Mancham, 1 200 000 Dead Tibetans or Muslimgauze, it is pretty clear that Lundin Oil updates the practice of calamity electronica to another level. Although intense and aware, Lundin Oil operates rationally and uninvolved, prospecting a bleak, deserted territory to recreate it as a state of mind. It may cause a revelatory instant that those walls surrounding our aseptic comfort zone are there not just to guarantee our isolation but also to vibrate presently as a collision of the external and internal worlds.
You know those episodes in modern history, where various people, hippies and social justice warriors tried to stop environmental catastrophes by getting up in trees and singing non-confrontational songs to no avail, against the companies that ultimately took them down? In such gloomy times, one could have joined the hippie cohort, smoking joints and predicating peace, or wait till it’s pitch dark outside and spike those same trees, wreaking havoc. By the time you would warn the company that the sharp, metallic implants will cause serious accidents and human damage, even death, everybody knew that the tables turned and there is a dangerous game ongoing played by the same rules, both sides. I’m not saying that was either healthy or ethic and it should not be tried at home, but one can’t deny the seductive wit it had about it. On a philosophical and aesthetic level, this is what Lundin Oil does, with its stabbing and incisive rhythms. It is a modern and mature reaction to where we stand, as a civilization. It does not sound too rosy and it shouldn’t do so. And since it is on the loose and limitless level of ideas and sound, everything is permitted.
Tracklist:1. Trading in Souls
2. Peeled-off Faces
3. They Need Tragedy
4. White Success