I happened to see on New Year’s Eve there were a few people who tuned into the radio stream the whole night. Presumably this was done as maybe some background for festivities or whathaveyou. That’s fucking awesome and I was thrilled. Innominandivm‘s Nocturnivm Ritvalis is not that kind of album. Basically, it’s the opposite. Comprised of four unflinchingly bleak drones, it’s not without a pulse, but is so resoundingly dark that light is hard-pressed to escape. The project, whose name is nigh-on-impossible to type correctly the first time — Innominandivm; nope, missed it again — is the dark-ambient alter ego of Chad Davis, multi-instrumentalist for Hour of 13 and any number of other outlets, among them Romannis Mötte, Anu, Tasha-Yar, Chains, Draath, Set, and so on. One more outlet in an already densely-populate discography? Maybe, but that doesn’t take away from the value of Nocturnivm Ritvalis in the slightest.
Each of the four cuts, titled “I” through “IV” on the 35-minute Innominandivm debut is based around a central atmosphere. The first is creeping and cinematic, the second more religious with a slow progression of organ-style tones amid open-drone wind, the third lower, more mechanical like if a cybernetic didgeridoo suddenly became sentient, and the last a 13-minute enfolding that’s tension without mercy and, like the opener, something John Carpenter would’ve been lucky to have in his heyday. Nothing is under six minutes, it’s all instrumental. There’s no payoff, no release, no hope, and since that’s obviously the intent, I can only say it works to glorious fashion. It’s easy to imagine that Davis wound up with these ideas as the result of working on other projects, or that maybe these pieces or the initial sparks from which they arose (such as anything here arises; mostly it sinks deeper and deeper) were intended for use in another context. So be it. They may be formative and minimal, but they resound nonetheless with aesthetic intent. If Davis wants to use them as the basis for future idea development or keep Innominandivm in his back pocket as a project to periodically toss out similar explorations, that’s his business.
What his long-term intent for the project might be, I don’t know, but he seems to hint that there’s more to come from Innominandivm and if that’s the case, Nocturnivm Ritvalis (am I wrong in thinking that U should be a V?) sets a deeply ambient foundation on which to build. It’s not friendly. It’s not party music. The depressive challenge Innominandivm makes, however, is one worth taking on, and for that reason, I’m glad to be able to add it to The Obelisk Radio. Check it out there now as part of the regular 24/7 stream or get a taste of “IV” in the YouTube clip below: