White Darkness - ToKAGE

7 songs
47:50 minutes
***** ***


White Darkness is a project by Dutch musician Jason Köhnen, one of the founders of The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble. Four years after his debut Nothing, he is back with ToKAGE, and just like his alias is a paradox, his music reflects that schizophrenic behaviour. Playing mostly drums, electronics, piano and occasional a hint of strings, White Darkness’ aim is to transport the essence of doom metal into a hitherto unknown futuristic landscape. By stripping the doom metal features of nearly all that is metal, we are left with a desperate sounding amalgam of post-industrial bleakness that occasionally recalls the nihilistic dementia of drone gods Sunn O))).

This works rather well on the album’s opening tracks, which most of the time are suffused by metallic percussion, but once we reach the middle of the album, those industrial traits finally vanish, leaving room for more elaborate soundscapes. This works best on the ten minute long You are the interactive data mutant . sHIVER/sHIVER//sHIVER/// (yes, all the songs come with really weird titles) which starts as a time lagged waltz with cardiac palpitations, before turning into something really spooky from the deepest unknown in the darkest corner of your psyche. Another strong moment is FF0000 Rituals which combines blackened doom metal with darkest wave atmospheres. RMNNTs feels like a true breather with its nearly pastoral atmosphere.

ToKAGE is anything but easy listening, but would you have expected anything else from this avant-garde artist? While there are certainly many more entertaining albums around, White Darkness succeeds in creating something new by combining two genres that while being quite different still have a lot in common. This is certainly a discovery well worth for the musically more adventurous among you.

Back to Reviews