Library Studies is a companion piece of sorts to the excellent The Satanic Path, which was released just a couple months ago. It leaves most of the beats behind and instead moves through 25 minutes of moody pieces that act as a soundtrack to a hallucination. The faint tones that accompany a fever dream or a long lost recollection. 9 luxuriously baroque pieces that remind one of grainy, late night Gothic film viewings on a monstrous console TV in the family den. You long to run to your bedroom and hide under the covers, but the music beckons you to keep watching.
Pentagram Home Video is a project steeped in mystery and shadows. An occult music box that plays electronic tomes, part demonic trance and part mystical ambient. The music’s creator is as mysterious as the music itself, making these dark and brooding musical pieces to entice listeners of a certain breed to fall in love with the drone-y soundscapes a little more after each listen. With three full-length releases since 2014, and now with Library Studies, Pentagram Home Video has solidified its place as one of the premier purveyors of the “imagined” synth soundtrack.
Library Studies stands out among the other PHV releases in that it’s shorter and the trance beats are mostly left off. In their place are incidental moments of music. It’s a quiter, moodier music dialogue that seems to pull strength from black quiet which surrounds the melodies. Something like “Breakthrough” has a bottomless feel to it. It sounds like we’re hearing sonar from 4 miles deep into the ocean. “A Guide To Opening and Closing Gates” has a Gothic quality to it. A mixture of church organ and wispy synth lines come together to offer the vibe of finding a portal to another universe inside a 14th century Transylvanian church. “Preperation For Field Trips” is an interesting one. You can almost envision someone packing a backpack full of trinkets and weapons as they head deep into some mystical forest. A minor key melody forms over simple percussion. It puts me in mind a bit of some of Steve Moore’s work on the Cub S/T, but on a far more personal level. “Cataloging Your Encounters” continues that percussive feel with a feeling that something is below trying to escape. Below what? The ground? A body of water? Some other dimension? Take your pick.
The track “Library Studies” has a different feeling altogether. I could almost hear it as music opening and closing a talk show on the occult. It’s catchy and has a certain swing to it. It feels like the beginning of something. This track should garner some attention. Maybe a movie deal. I don’t know. This one is good, guys.
Library Studies is a wonderful collection of off-kilter musical sketches. Even if you’re not familiar with Pentagram Home Video’s work prior to this you can still enjoy this collection on its own. If you dug The Satanic Path, then this one is a must to follow that up with. Precise, moody synth music with touches of drone and even some experimental leanings, all recorded to beautiful 4-track cassette. Yet one more grand display from Pentagram Home Video proving less can be more.
7. 9 out of 10