AUDIO REVIEW: COLD WORLDS (VINYL LP) / COMPOSER: DON HARPER / PUBLISHER: DUAL PLANET / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
When one considers that many of the tracks on Don Harper's Cold Worlds LP were featured in either the Doctor Who story, The Invasion or as part of George Romero's Dawn of the Dead, it's unsurprising as to the unease one feels when one puts needle to vinyl for this reissue. It's relentlessly creepy, and yet beautiful in its abstraction.
Harper's electrified violin makes for an immediately arresting opening track. The version of the Doctor Who theme presented here is recognisable to anyone familiar with the program, but so different and unique that it takes the well-known piece in a completely different direction than one would expect. Harper pulls back on the excitement and ups the ante on the unknown, creating the mood that will carry through the entire LP.
The rolling tympani of Nightmare, combined with a sound that is crystalline and metallic, creates an atmosphere of disconcerting unease that disturbs far more than many pointed attempts at terror. Its minimalism lets your fear work up a solid head of steam within the spaces between the notes.
Dank Earth, featured in Dawn of the Dead, as well as in Gorillaz's Intro on their sophomore LP, Demon Days, is an absolutely efficient piece of terror. It's not even two minutes long, but the drums which clack and clatter over the deep contrabass work to generate pure dystopian unease.
The epic title track is a full 12 minutes long. It creates a world, and immerses you in it. It is remarkably warm and inviting in its early moments, but soon electronic wolf howls and bird calls evoke a sterile, disturbing sonic environment, a frankly frightening place to be.
The packaging on this compilation of tracks is absolutely wonderful. A heavy-duty tip-on gatefold sleeve with obi strip houses a magnificent 180-gram vinyl LP, and Jon Dale's liner notes go into the history of both Harper and the songs themselves. It's a fantastic product, and you'll find yourself exploring this release again and again.