Blackburn's sound design and production values have always been paramount to his music, and that sonic mastery is the cornerstone of Night Of Visions. Each track seems more intent on setting a richly immersive scene than necessarily going anywhere. These are long, drifting compositions where the percussion provides tension and release instead of driving the songs forward. On "Ritual Terre" Blackburn attacks a lumbering tribal rhythm with industrial hum and buzz, while on "Medicina" he overlays the spooky soundscape with lagging drums that rattle like heavy chains.
Night Of Visions is unusual, but it isn't without antecedents. There are hints of dubstep, as on "Arachnae" and "Invocations," which shudder and swing like massive machines. "La Purga" approximates house, but it's a monolithic sort, with eerie creaks and drones instead of melody. "Paititi" is similarly devoid of hooks, content to feel out its dark corners with intricately rolling drums. Indeed, on first listen, Night Of Visions can feel listless and amorphous, especially when you've got the title track's nine-minute slow burn sitting at the front, but give yourself over and the details come alive.
Night Of Visions might be resolutely dour in mood, but it's a beautifully mixed and mastered record with a good sense of dynamics. It continues Samurai Horo's journey to push drum & bass artists beyond the strictures of 170 BPM, taking the label further than it's been yet. Like any exploration of unknown territory, it has pitfalls and shaky steps, but Ancestral Voices is a new project. Night Of Visions is a promising start of Blackburn's new chapter, underlining Samurai's versatility and revealing another dimension of the artist formerly known as Indigo.