Terminal Sound System - Heavy Weather

9 songs
62:19 minutes
***** ****


I was faintly discouraged when I read that Terminal Sound System are the solo project of Skye Klein, one of half of the Australian duo Halo who used to release some really mean post-industrial albums on Relapse Records in the early years of the millennium. Considering that TSS have lately been very active, with Heavy Weather already their ninth album (and their first one on Denovali Records), I wondered if this would become a worthwhile listening experience or rather the self-indulgent product of a workaholic mind.

Fortunately the former is the case, and even though Heavy Weather is a truly dark affair, it is by far more accessible than what I have come to expect of Halo. I am always sceptical when a label advertises an artist as unique, but maybe this is for once the truth. Not that Mr Klein is using any groundbreaking new ingredients, but it’s the unbelievable mix that makes his music quite unprecedented. The industrial components are minimal. Instead we get a strong dose of post rock mashed up with ambient, or should I say illbient, as I read on an Internet page elucidating the musician’s vast discography. This by itself would also not be something we have never come across, but it’s later on in the album where the artist feels more self-confident and freely adds touches of trip hop and even some downright techno patterns. The latter work best when they rely on chilly downbeat sequences that you normally experience in a late night club in the early morning hours when the owners want to get rid of the last night crawlers. Some decent vocals even find their way into the music, full of effects of course, matching the ethereal qualities of the songs.

It’s futile to pick any standout tracks, because Heavy Weather works best as an entity. Where many ambient / post rock albums are nice but too reliable on well known recipes, this record is a one-of-a-kind piece of art that manages to surprise the listener with unexpected twists and turns, and despite its predominant atmosphere of darkness, finally comes out as an absolutely enjoyable one hour ride through the fertile mind of Skye Klein. This is not only a good album, but one that surpassed my wildest expectations.

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