|Fossil Aerosol Mining Project
The Day 1982 Contaminated 1971
Fossil Aerosol Mining Project are a rare project in this modern age that has managed to retain their anonymity and enigmatic nature amidst a culture obsessed with having a social media presence. Other than a connection to Zoviet France (a band of similar ambiguity) and their location in the Midwestern United States, there’s very little to know about the project. It may be a cliché to say, but the music and sounds contained on The Day 1982 Contaminated 1971 conveys far more than words or images could, and this record captures the sound of a dark, decaying history riddled with mystery.
Much like the work of Helen Scarsdale Agency label-head, Jim Haynes, Fossil Aerosol Mining Project frequently utilize an audible sense of rust and decay heavily throughout this record: the sound of the organic and mineral decaying together into a bleak fog of noise. The record abounds with textures and noises yet is anchored wonderfully by the careful use of (mostly sampled) melodies. The bits of music that open "Beverage Melody Introduction” sound as if they were lifted from a film strip buried in the backroom of some high school A/V lab, untouched for the past forty years and having succumbed to rot a ways back.
Hints of music also pass through the ghostly pings and crunching static of "The Remains of Veronica’s Fake Laboratory (Part 1),” but the piece ends up being more abstract and textural, with erratic bursts of white noise and stuttering voices balancing out some open, near-silent minimalism. The short "Floridian Mnemonics III” is the closest that Fossil Aerosol Mining Project manage to get to conventional ambient music, but is mangled and obscured by weird scrapes and radio static, still keeping the dissonance they are known for. The less musical moments, though, are where this record really shines. The crackling layers and delayed loops of "Ruins of the Fourth Wall” capture the sound of total decay extremely well, with the hint of ghostly strings making for a slightly melodic counterpoint. A rumbling bass drone and chirpy loops make "Damage to the Following Day” an odd juxtaposition of sounds, made even more bizarre with the processed human voices that manage to appear. The darkest moods come from "Relighting the Cinex V2” and "Ear to the Aluminum Speaker,” however. On the former, Fossil Aerosol Mining Project work a pulsating low-end passage with ghostly transmissions of static, allowing echoing voices to sneak in. With a repeating loop of what sounds like the death rattle of a dying person, the sense of malignancy is extremely powerful. The latter is more unsettling than overall disturbing with its mangled voices cast atop machinery drones. With the addition of creepy chirps, creaks, and a frog-like bit of sound, there is an organic, but decidedly inhuman sense to the track.
The ambiguity of just who Fossil Aerosol Mining Project are and how they make the sounds that they do certainly adds to the strength of this record, but it’s not a necessity in appreciating it. As it stands, The Day 1982 Contaminated 1971 is an excellent combination of the familiar and the unidentifiable, with a palpable sense of darkness and the unknown that reveal more and more with each listen. While Fossil Aerosol Mining Project—and their work—may be shrouded in mystery, it is definitely one that doesn’t need solving so long as their output stays this consistent. -- Craeig Dunton