Alma Maru is a two-piece experimental outfit comprising Ryan Unks and Nathan Berlinguette, both of whom are veterans of Pittsburgh metal bands Creation Is Crucifixion and The Human Quena Orchestra.
The sounds featured on Alma Maru’s self-titled debut, conjured via guitar and synth, vacillate between haunting, atmospheric drones and abrasive sheets of noise, sometimes within the same track. Spare, brooding beauty explodes into hellish chaos and then resolves itself again, like dust settling after an explosion. “Am18” is one of several tracks that sounds like a Godspeed You! Black Emperor demo that’s been left in the elements to degrade, the song’s swirling guitar tones submerged under a fine layer of static. The electronic warbles that undergird the piece simultaneously resemble the hoots of a clockwork owl and the beeps of a busted self-checkout station left to rust after a catastrophe. The impression left by “am18” is one of loneliness, a sad machine whirring on even though its raison d’être has long since been obliterated.