Agony Planet is the debut blast from the self-described fantasy techno collective Dust. Bringing together audio engineer Michael Sherburn, the multi-talented maestro Greem Jellyfish and nighttime moneyman John Barclay, the group gives a tale of horror and aliens on this record that is as fun as it is frightening. The music itself runs the gamut from digital hardcore to dungeon techno to celestial ambiance and is tied together by a theme of “extravagant extraterrestrial warfare”. Right on.
Put more basically there’s the opening “Breeding Pit”, a slow-building number that occasionally sounds like an seizure aura brought on by a nightstick repeatedly dropping itself on the nightstand of your brain while visions of ketamine faeries dance in your head, the ultra-dance fantasy “Xenocide” that sounds like a rave wrapped in the hellish midnight green patina of a Warsaw subway station in the hours between Hitler and the Russians. With all of this swirling this way and that you begin to question reality, whether there’s a way home, and a way out, if there’s even a place called Earth left to go home to.
There is, of course, but you won’t find it in the terrifying terrain of “A Message From Enoch”, the most alien moniker known to mankind, a name that can strike fear in the hearts of even the most wizened interstellar warriors, the most weary and skeptical dancefloor warriors, the cats who would just as soon turn you invisible as have to look at your stupid ID card for the extra human race. And if the thumping frequencies of “Acid Bath” don’t convince you that there’s nothing more terrifying than a beat to make you move your little alien feet, then what will? Perhaps a trip to “Venus”? Perhaps an invitation to dance with the hounds of Satanic lust that nip at your feet on the haunting and DNA-displacing “Kolobos”.
There are more than flashes of the occult throughout, more than a few hints of foreboding and dark passageways that the ancient ones could have never warned you about. A lot of those honorific and horrific passageways are apparently the work of Mr. Greem and he and his cohorts should be proud of themselves for whipping up something that as mysterious and ludicrous as this journey through the center of hell that would make Dante himself get up and make a trumpet of his ass.
This sure ain’t your daddy’s techno and it ain’t his journey into the labyrinthine, taciturn ways of the nightlife or the outer spheres that secretly (or not so secretly) surround us. This also ain’t the kind of thing that the avant-garde in all its permutations could have predicted with a compass and a deck of magnetized tarot cards. This is the future, baby, and it’s beating down your door, thrumming its way into the pillow of your safely lit dreams and it’s going to take you away, somewhere to the other side.
Embrace its velvet horror, children, embrace it with grinning teeth and sloppy, candy cotton colors soaking your celestial cores.