Reviewed: Unhuman – Shadows, Fire and Spirits [Strange Therapy]

Words on contemporary releases. Seeking to offer an honest description of works which manage to exist in their own space and time.

Unhuman – Shadows, Fire and Spirits w/ Fallbeil and Autumns remix [ST003]


Unhuman delivers the third therapy session on the new, but already slaying label Strange Therapy. Focusing on the dualist aspect of body and mind, this release seeks to explore the expansiveness of the connection between both, as well as questioning what a body can be other than a vessel for the energy contained. A sophisticated philosophical inquiry driven by the brute force of primitive sound.

Hailing from Athens, where a scene in experimental noise and post-techno has been blossoming beneath the surface, Manos Simotas aka Unhuman eventually relocated to Berlin, a playground of possibilities for artists in these genres. There he founded Liber Null, both a record label and a merging between the art of audio/visual experiment. His latest releases have been on Instruments of Discipline titled Devour Wrath Without Shame, a record infinitely more pushed by an internal anger, and as Nostromo on Tripalium, teaming up with SΛRIN. Both of these recent releases show the styles by which Shadows, Fire and Spirits is informed.


A1. Unhuman – Shadow of the Serpent

A2. Unhuman – Fire Rash Peeling

A3. Unhuman – White Bone Spirit

B1. Unhuman – Shadow of the Serpent (Fallbeil remix)

B2. Unhuman – White Bone Spirit (Autumns remix)


The Shadow of the Serpent, the keeper of wisdom on life and death, slowly follows the listener during this track. A creepy, rough synth-line builds up anticipation for the physical exercise. The suffocating breakbeat patterns could indicate that the body is fighting the tainted soul. Or the body might be joining in on the sin. Fire Rash Peeling shows some analogy with the staccato EBM patterns provided in the earlier mentioned Nostromo record. An anticipation is built up and immediately contested by a quicker flow of thoughts. A few more of these ‘breathing breaks’ condense the energy of the track into one that can set fire to a dance-floor. The last of the originals on the tape is White Bone Spirit. It bases itself on the more noisier edge of Unhuman’s work. The slow burner is definitely the most reflexive of the three, distorted growls over a half timed beat.

On the other side of the tape, you can find the remixes. Very pleased to see these legendary acts rework the given perspectives on body and mind, both Fallbeil and Autumns take up quite different stances. Fallbeil’s reinterpretation of Shadow of the Serpent feels a whole lot more open for a change in fate. The gnarly beat, coupled with voices and chants delivers the sort of anxiety when you have experienced the extent of mental expansion, as opposed to bodily containment. White Bone Spirit remix by Autumns parallels itself with the original by relying on a more physical force. It likens to the sheer motivation of going through the last hours of the ‘graveyard shift’.

Shadows, Fire and Spirits delivers a highly enjoyable release, which relates itself to the ongoing discourse between body and mind. At most times a physical test, it gives enough mental stimulation to keep the patient sane.


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