Shadowlust is the new collaborative project from L.I.E.S. stalwart Svengalisghost (a.k.a. Marquis Cooper) and 51717 (a.k.a. Lili Schulder), with Cooper doing the beats and Schulder singing and programming the synthesizers. Considering the former's catalog and listening to Trust in Pain, the pair debut LP, it's clear why these two decided to work together. Cooper has worked to meld industrial and assorted "wave" influences into house tracks in the past, and this LP uniformly deals with those sorts of barbed grids. It does so in a more subdued way, however—those looking for arrangements with that titular pain might be disappointed.
There isn't a lot to grab onto here, but as a mood record, Trust in Pain is extremely cohesive. Cooper's tinny, staggered patterns underpin Schulder's rigidly percolating synthesizers and breathy, mostly wordless vocals. There is probably a better historical reference point (Chris & Cosey perhaps, but drained of much of that outfit's catchiness), but perhaps "Factory Floor on downers" comes close—there is something similar in the way Schulder and that group's Nik Colk Void let their wispy moans echo out into the abyss. Maybe an abyssal plain is a better way to describe the landscape here, though. It isn't a claustrophobic or cavernous landscape as much as one where there is neither a peak nor drop in sight. Many acts dealing in similar territory—for example, Streetwalker, whose Beau Wanzer shared a 12" with Cooper earlier in the year—use these elements to convey a tensile, punishing feeling of sexuality, referencing EBM's S&M overtones. Shadowlust feels like the unwound inverse of that approach, the musical equivalent of the kind of exhausted, dead-eyed sigh one might exhale in the aftermath.