Occasionally, an album will fall into you metaphorical lap and it will be exactly what you needed to hear but nothing like what you expected. The latest Phragments album “All Towers Must Fall” was that album for me. I was not expecting something so cinematic, something so clean and vibrant yet so desolate and sad. All Towers Must Fall is an album that will play in my head over and over long after I have lifted the needle on the LP.
This is the soundtrack to The Wasteland, the world has ended with a whimper and this sound is all that’s left in the world. This is not a grand sound, a triumph of industrial ambient, but a quiet, simple sound. I think that’s why I love this album so much, it is not an overbearing, bombastic, horrifying sound. It’s subtle and quiet. There still some great industrial soundscapes throughout the album, they sweep the imagination away to a world run by machines, not the militaristic totalitarian regime of so many science fiction stories; rather it’s a story of machines that somehow survived the end and now go about their tasks. It’s a world where we simply stopped existing and the machines adapted without us. There are deep undercurrents of sadness and melancholy, a loss that the machines cannot accurately describe or know if they feel. They don’t spare us a thought but they do feel that we have gone. The soundscape Phragments plays doesn’t mourn our disappearance, it is not arrogant in that way, it is mournful that what we left behind cannot describe how it feels to have us gone. The way Phragments weaves these mournful melodies with the soft industrial tone is incredible. I feel like this album came to me when I needed it, I feel like the music and the soundscape has inspired me to look back into the future, something I haven’t done in quite some time, and write some science fiction. This is a great album for introspection rather than exploration. Everyone needs an album like this in their library.
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