THE COLD VIEW
‘Wires Of Woe, Ways Of Waste’
OUT July 2014
Madonna’s 1980’s pop anthem ‘Material Girl’ addressed modern materialism in a fun, upbeat style. Thirty years later, The Cold View’s ‘Wires Of Woe, Ways Of Waste’ is the absolute opposite of that in every possible sense. This one-man project of Berlin-based A.A.S. approaches the soullessness of today’s technology-enshrined culture in a totally literal and terrifying manner, creating an album of such desperate bleakness that afterwards you might feel like listening to some Madonna just to cheer yourself up. Only joking – that desperate hag is more depressing than anything on offer here.
You’d be better off sticking with this daylight-swallowing, droning ambient funeral doom. It’s not easy listening. The Cold View’s music is slow, sullen and sparse. In its understated efforts to replicate the sheer futility of existence, the album’s quartet of songs – each 15-minutes-plus – can feel a little underpopulated. Minimalism, after all, must be very carefully managed.
Moments of beauty are rare, although they do appear, particularly in the piano accompaniment on the second track ‘Woe’ and the intro to ‘Waste’. The first moments of standout track ‘Ways’ offer some glimmer of synthy warmth, and although they are soon drowned by funereal sorrow, they return later on with an unexpected majesty. The four songs are called ‘Wires’, ‘Woe’, ‘Ways’, ‘Waste’, perhaps in an effort to go one step further than Robert J Sawyer’s ‘WWW’ sci-fi trilogy (‘Wake’, ‘Watch’, ‘Wonder’) which touches upon broadly similar subject matter.
The Cold View’s dissonant, buzzing guitars sound like a rusty telephone cable. Hushed, sinister vocals murmur and slice through the grey clouds of misery, and their message is evidently not a cheery one. A.A.S. seems intent on pointing the way towards humankind’s inevitable demise, engulfed by its own cleverness. It would be particularly ironic, therefore, to find yourself enjoying this album on Bandcamp, using a laptop. It might be advisable to use a wireless connection though – at least, you might feel safer that way, safer from the technological finale that The Cold View seems to foretell.
Perhaps this is one for hardcore funeral doom fanatics, as the incessant emptiness can feel slightly frustrating and soul-destroying at times. That said, The Cold View certainly lives up to its band name with its second album, giving a harsh and at times mesmerising exploration of the frustrations of living our lives wrapped in wires.