US project BAPTIZER is the creative vehicle of one Jim Baptizer. He has been making music since 1990 or thereabouts. The Baptizer project has, from what I can track down, 4 albums and three EPs to it’s name so far. “The Dream of the Rood” is an EP that dates back to 2015. and was released through US label Silber Records.
Baptizer operates within the triangle of ambient, industrial and power electronics, incorporating elements of these forms and more into his soundscapes. For this particular production the 13 minute title track is the main draw, while the shorter Icon of Theotokos serves as a contrasting feature on multiple levels.
The Dream of the Rood is a haunting, nightmarish experience. Odd rhythms come and go, and amidst the noise and utterly depressing layers of sound we are treated to a variety of effects that sounds like distant screams of various kind. Screams of anguish, fear and terror that is. The drones and fluctuations ebb and flow in intensity, but stay on the dark and haunting side throughout most of this excursion, with a few minutes given to moods of a distinctly more light nature altogether, with a church bell like layer leading the way, prior to the darker and ominous moods taking over again at the end. A creation that would have been a fitting soundscape for a tale about someone leaving the depths of hell behind, at long last managing to reach the gates of heaven, and then be cast down into the pits again.
The much short Icon of Theotokos is a more light toned affair, albeit using painful textures at times and then in particular in the opening part. A piece that probably reflects back to a particular icon of Theotokos and the associations that creation inspires.
It is the title track that is the main selling point for this EP however, and if industrial tinged, nightmare-inducing drones and soundscapes is your thing, then this is an EP that will immerse you in landscapes of this kind. A production that will cater to the needs of a rather select niche audience I suspect.
My rating: 60/100
The Dream of the Rood // Icon of Theotokos