Occulting Disk is massive and tense—patiently, glacially aggressive. It’s also Deathprod composer Helge Sten’s first proper LP under that moniker in 15 years, a 10-track collection of undulating electronics clocks in at over an hour. The press release refers to the album as an anti-fascist ritual, and that seems appropriate; Will Oldham pens liner notes about how to confront hatred and fear. That ritual context is fundamental to Occulting Disk—it makes clear the album’s pregnant power, and the ensuing energy it delivers.
An “occulting disk” is a telescope piece that blocks out the visible surface of the sun in order to view its surrounding plasma. That’s not where the astronomical theme and lexicon on the album ends, though. Most song titles keep the album name and add a number at the tail end; these are generally the less-abrasive pieces, meditating on a theme, getting as close to ambient music as Occulting Disk wants to get. The tracks with deviating titles are two of the most dynamic. Penultimate track “Black Transit Of Jupiter’s Third Satellite,” the album’s biggest highlight, takes the listener through a caustic 12-minute odyssey of dense, abrasive synthesis—any smooth sine waves to be heard are buried fairly deep.
If “Black Transit Of Jupiter’s Third Satellite” is the final push, then final track “Occulting Disk 8” is the denouement, a five-minute undulating drone that crescendos gently before rolling back, allowing the listener to reflect on what’s gone before—the will and energy of ritual and creation—prior to the silence, waiting for the universe’s response.