Back in March, Pact Infernal debuted on experimental sublabel Samurai Horo with a brooding, downbeat four-tracker, The Descent (Chapter 1). It wasn’t long before Stroboscopic Artefacts label head Luca Mortellaro, a.k.a. Lucy, picked it up and personally offered to rework the EP into his own stylistic interpretations. Distilled into two separate remixes, Lucy presents a towering twenty-five minute expedition into the supernatural unconsciousness. He re-invigorates the original work with a masterful touch, translating many traits of the original with effective ease, while also managing to create something entirely self-sufficient and artistically individual.
On the A-side, the Cosmic Remix transports the listener through a shimmering portal of windswept sound design and spluttering synth textures. Its cyclical reelings are carried forward by a steady bass drum which continues almost unabated for the full thirteen minutes, while the trundling patter of hi-hats accent the off-beats. Tracks of such length cam struggle to maintain interest, but here, one is transfixed by its hypnotic trajectory. Lucy holds down the tension throughout, subtly building things up through the layering of percussion and overhead drones that later engulf the canvas; at key points, Lucy deftly strips down the textures only to re-enter the vortex shortly after, escalating with each iteration. The clatter of cosmic dross, more noticeable during the breakdowns, rumbles like distant thunder and points us to Lucy’s innate ability for timbre and arrangement. Entering just around the halfway mark, effervescent synth textures underpin the descending harmonic progression, vacillating under the flowing digital currents. Simultaneously a club weapon and a metaphysical odyssey in its own right, the version delivers on all fronts.
On the flip is Lucy’s Subterranean Remix. Decidedly more lax, yet still retaining a similar austerity to the A-side, it draws more strongly on Pact Infernal’s stark, overcast aesthetic; moreover one can really hear Samurai Horo’s stylistic hallmarks of darkly, atmospheric soundscapes and ambling rhythmic structures. The energy here is more inward, yet just as brilliant in its expression. While the mix entertains the same treatment of structure and arrangement, the sound palette is distinctly different. An eeriness looms over the track—long-arching notes pierce through the fog of pads and percussion, while intermittent squeaks and underlying resonances contribute to its spine-chilling ambience.
Lucy’s attention to both form and detail is consistently impressive, and these two remixes particularly show the way he manages to synthesize material into a breathing, organic whole, one that evolves as the track progresses. Pact Infernal’s original may contain more variety, but the depth and vision in Lucy’s work is undeniable; the two remixes, in fact, contrast and complement each other perfectly. A purveyor of altered sonic states, Lucy once again brings us something that is equal parts uncompromising and hypnotic.