The Last Man on Earth – The Last Man on Earth
The Last Man on Earth was released at a point in the life of TKX Vault that is best thought of as its drone period. Albums such as Dojo 777 by Kamokata, The Phonograph by Unknown Artist, 暗い自然 by Bleed, and Dilation of the Soul Electronic by Keito Shimuguchi featured long ambient pieces almost always sans percussion and most contemporary semblances of progression. These releases also generally utilized some method of subverting one’s expectations of drone, whether it be through absurd amounts of static and degradation (especially the lo-fi uncanny valley of The Phonograph), cut-up track listings (as with the one-minute tracks of 暗い自然), or dadaism (as with RUSKE ANDEGRAUND by ЖЫ and follow-up Huylowave – if they can be considered drone at all and not simply musique concrète).
In comparison, The Last Man on Earth is conservative. The album consists of three long-form compositions of low-key drone music that seek to evoke the abject loneliness of being the titular last man on earth. All three tracks make use of a powerful bass tone that hits like background radiation. As with the other albums, there is no percussion on any of the tracks, but neither is there much in the way of interface screw or subversion. That’s not necessarily a bad thing at all; one could argue that The Last Man on Earth is free of gimmicks in contrast to its cousins. It does not have the absolute dread of the wolf-themed вовки тіні by вовчі особи, but there is significant melancholia that is crucial to the album’s experience. To expound further upon this theme, the track titles – “Bunker”, “Black Sun (Eternal Snow)”, and “Night Fevers” – elicit imagery of a nuclear winter or snowball earth that is nigh-uninhabitable. The overall effect is an existential fear less overt than other releases late in TKX Vault’s initial run, but its subtlety is ultimately effective in arousing the bleak mindset of being the last.
(Consider The Last Man on Earth to be an alternate soundtrack to post-apocalyptic survival games such as NEO Scavenger.)
1. Bunker – (9:30)
2. Black Sun (Eternal Snow) – (14:15)
3. Night Fevers – (10:13)