Helm – “The Hollow Organ”

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Helm, the alias of London sound artist Luke Younger, has been releasing music since 2007. It wasn’t until 2012’s Impossible Symmetry that Helm was known to much wider audience. That release came out on Pan, and started a wonderful relationship with him and the label. Helm’s recent release, The Hollow Organ, is his third release on Pan.

For the uninitiated, Pan releases music from experimental artists. So on first listen you might be looking at yourself if what you’re listening to is really music, but trust me, here’s a label that specializes in sound. The Hollow Organ is just another fantastic piece from Helm. It opens with a light drone that gives way to thumping percussion and the sounds of what could be a Tesla coil firing straight into you brain. Ominous doesn’t seem to do opening song “Carrier” the justice it deserves. As the storm subsides, it takes you to a leaky boiler room that is possibly being visited by alien invaders.

“Analogues”, the second track is a paranoid race through the dark alleyways of a city that seem entirely too foreign for somewhere you’ve been before. Just when you thought you had finally settled yourself out, a gang of dudes sweep you off of your feet and throw you into a van, carrying you into “Spiteful Jester.”  It’s a mind scraping affair, and leaves you completely discombobulated. It doesn’t stop, as much as you keep forgetting it’s happening.

Closing track “The Hollow Organ” is far the greatest of the four tracks. Imagine after having your brain scrambled in the song before, you wake up and find yourself laying out on an examination chair in the middle of an empty room. You get the strange feeling that something isn’t right with you, and you vaguely remember something happening but you can’t quite place it. You head to the only exit, a large steel door that sits slightly open. Pushing the door open it’s obvious you’re in some underground location. Darkness surrounds you, save a couple of dim lights that flicker from the ceiling. The hallway in front of you extends for quite some distance. Doors are on your left and right, but most are locked, those that do open reveal rooms that have been caved in. Your footsteps echo in the most ominous of ways. You reach the end of the straight hallway with a daunting choice: Left or right? In the current haze you’re in, you choose left. As you go down the black hallyway, you eventually hear an organ being played above you. It’s very disorienting, but you push on regardless. The organ fades slightly, but you finally see light from around a corner. You head up the stairs from which this light is coming from and find yourself emerging in an alleyway. Next to you is an old warehouse you were apparently underneath.  The location is familiar. You pass the warehouse all the time on your way to work, but never pay any mind to it.  With the sound of the organ still faintly playing, you gather yourself and head home, not quite sure what just happened.

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