Thomas Ragsdale is a bit of a sonic wizard. His solo work propels from techno abandon to atmospheric sound collages that offer up a cinematic scope of mood and sonic grace. There’s also his work in Ffion which double downs on musical ARP odysseys and the stuttering heartbeat of a haunted dance floor.
In his latest creation, the drone-heavy Sulk Rooms, Ragsdale paints with circuits and heavily-layered melodies that seem to rise from some sort of musical Mariana Trench. Coaxed to rise among droning electronics and a sort of doomed, melancholy space, Sulk Rooms is the perfect head trip for the adventurous musical traveler wanting more than spoon-fed musical mediocrity.
Sulk Rooms’ latest opus is the sparse and brilliant Hymns For The Bone Horse. Released via New York-based label Noci Miste, Hymns locks into dystopian drones and gauzy headspaces that feel like both waking from surgery and free-floating in a kind of green-tinted void. This is a heady trip into dark, musical corners. Electronic tomes for the big unknown.
Nine songs and 40 minutes of ethereal transmissions, Hymns For the Bone Horse is Sulk Rooms answer to sensory deprivation. A deep dive into ambient drones and darkly-lit intentions. This album is like spelunking into someone’s psyche.
The album feels like one long existential drift. Tracks morph together from one to the next, giving the feeling as if free-floating through space and time. “A Fading Hum”, “Pathways”, and title track “Hymns For The Bone Horse” are the centerpieces; long form, slow-moving tracks that take their time forming in front of your eyes and ears. Interspersed between them are hazy interludes like “Follower”, “The Ride With The Stranger” and “Nine Headed Bird”, buffers between the larger works. Contemplative tomes that teeter between Haxan Cloak industrial noise and a kind of Huerco S techno reduction.
Sulk Rooms’ Hymns For the Bone Horse is the kind of album that holds mysteries within its layers of noise and deep-throated drone. These aren’t background tracks for party conversation. These are headphone tracks for deep dive head trips. Monolithic sounds painted on a jet black canvas that beg for interpretation. Imaginative dark ambient for the seeker and explorers not afraid to get dirty on the journey.