- Map out the various labels George Thompson's music has appeared on since he emerged as half of Spectral Empire in 2008 and a picture forms that seems far removed from the micro-managed music careers common today. Can you name many other producers whose work has featured on labels as disparate as Island Of The Gods, ESP Institute, Omnidisc, Boyznoise, Jealous God and World Unknown?
The fact that Thompson worked with such differing labels last year suggests he's a musician with little interest in trends or hype. Refreshingly, he appears happy for his work to reach new audiences. It could also be because those labels were among the many fans of the sublime Black Merlin album, Hypnotik Tradisi. It was certainly the motivating factor for Berceuse Heroique to seek out Thompson for Proto World, a four-track 12-inch that neatly sums up the various moods a Black Merlin production can embody.
The title track is a fine DJ tool, nine minutes of cavernous drums grinding relentlessly over swoops of reverse synths and guttural grunts that evoke the muscular drama of vintage EBM. The sweet tingle of gamelan on "Spirit House" could feasibly come from Hypnotik Tradisi's studio sessions, offering a nice contrast to the simmering anger of "Vision Animal," which could be mistaken for Rrose at a glance. The EP closes with the fractured stasis of "Hope," surely an ironic title given the solemn fog that billows out as it creeps towards its conclusion.
A1 Proto World
A2 Spirit House
B1 Vision Animal