Brian Williams is a British electronic musician often credited for creating the dark ambient genre with albums recorded under the name Lustmord. Williams started recording as Lustmord in 1980 before joining SPK in 1982.
Lustmord has extracted field recordings made in crypts, caves, and slaughterhouses, and combined it with occasional ritualistic incantations and Tibetan horns. His treatments of acoustic phenomena encased in digitally expanded bass rumbles have a dark ambient quality. Some of Lustmord's most notable collaborations include Robert Rich on the critically acclaimed Stalker, Jarboe, John Balance of Coil, Monte Cazazza, Clock DVA, Chris & Cosey (as T. G. T. (The Genetic Terrorists), Paul Haslinger, and experimental sludge group The Melvins on Pigs of the Roman Empire.
Williams released the album Heresy (engineered and recorded by Lagowski at his South London studio), considered a milestone of the genre of dark ambient, in 1990. Williams contributed to 44 Hollywood film soundtracks as music and sound designer and occasionally as additional composer, most notably on The Crow and Underworld.
Around 1999, Lustmord was also involved with the video game Planescape: Torment—his work eventually went unused when the project changed direction. He provided music and sound design for a variety of other projects since, such as Far Cry Instincts, Underworld or NVIDIA demos, many of which include collaborations with Paul Haslinger.
Lustmord worked on Tool's DVD singles and remixed versions of "Schism" and "Parabola", which were released on December 20, 2005. Lustmord also contributed to Tool's 2006 album 10,000 Days with the atmospheric storm sounds on the title track, "10,000 Days". He later worked again with Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan, collaborating on Keenan's project Puscifer debut album "V" is for Vagina, as well as providing several remixes for "V" is for Viagra. The Remixes. Lustmord eventually generated a collection of dub remixes of several '… Vagina' tracks, known as "D" Is for Dubby - The Lustmord Dub Mixes. The nine track LP was released as a digital download on 17 October 2008, available directly from the Puscifer website. He also did some additional music including the track "The Western Approaches" feat. Wes Borland on guitar for the documentary Blood Into Wine.
The epic soundscapes that have come to define the electronic wizardry of Lustmord disdain classification. Droning with a cosmic ambivalence, the music is simultaneously shadowed and dark but also incandescent and luminous. In each composition, tones and synthetic sweeps hum with a profoundly paralyzing presence. When supplemented with feedback loops of endless vamps and echoing sustains, Lustmord’s music churns into a hypnotic subsonic wash.
Combining music with a minimalistic visual approach, Lustmord packages his work so as to create an essential paradox. Songs titled often with a single word such as “Item” or “Element” weave amidst cold, basic imagery and recurring hexagrams that define the subtly stated aesthetic approach. In similar fashion to the limited, but well extrapolated tonal vocabulary of the music, the imagery’s minimalistic statement of apparent nothingness is crushing in its embrace of simplicity.
But despite the best attempts of fans and journalists alike, Lustmord by no means a basic concept to be easily reduced. Though booming and expansive, to marginalize his music as dark or evil would be a simplistic denunciation. In fact, the work of Lustmord is near agenda-less. Instead serving as the equivalent of a musical hallucinogen—meant to inspire and invigorate each listener’s individual creative facilities while offering an open helmed transport to whatever space the individual cares to journey to.
In keeping with his work, Williams himself is not some monolithic grave marker for the macabre. Tasked with a channel of talent from an immense unseen vision known only to his own consciousness, he seems almost resigned to the obligatory misunderstandings that accompany his abstract work. He ponders life with a wondrous skepticism that he extends to a humble perception of his own work. However, through his long career he has remained dutiful to his own innate responsibility to ears that expand our sonic frontiers deeper, farther.
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