At the beginning of 2012, Mike hinted at a collaboration that he’d been working on since 2011 with ambient guitarist/bassist/Chapman Stickist Har.
The outcome is “Shadow District”, a dense and mysterious affair triggering the imagination. It’s an intense journey through abstract soundscape netherworlds of dark, gloomy ambience and pure electronic space music to which Har added his stringed instruments along many effects pedals.
Its entrance, “Descent to street level”, immediately reveals this is not going to be easy-going sonic ride, as a sinister, uneasy feel settles down from the start. What’s left seems a barren and desolate playground of miserable surroundings where remorseless despair is scattered all over the place.
The tone becomes a tad lighter on “Abandoned Playground”, “Victims of a System” and the final piece “Betrayal by Twilight”, where a sense of hope shines through. But overall, most of the dense shadowlands on the album leave the listener in firmly dark caverns with faint melancholic glimpses passing by occasionally. But somehow, the music left me with an empty feeling.
All in all, this is not for the faint at heart. Headphones strongly recommended. “Shadow District” is available as free download through the Earth Mantra netlabel.
You can see what reviews I have done of Altus on his artist page