The Sound Projector
"Despite the album’s title, the six tracks on offer are actually very quiet and the volume dial needs to be turned up fairly high (almost to the point of distortion) to catch all the sounds. Long passages of silence and an impersonal blank ambience surrounding the quiet drones and textures are highly oppressive and might be the most dreaded part of the whole recording ... You’re left feeling very uneasy and disquieted at the thought that someone could have taken advantage of naive travellers from out of state and abroad (a few of Milat’s victims were German) and left their bodies to decay and disappear in an otherwise serene and pristine forest environment. The final track “A façade” suggests that the peace and tranquillity of the forest may be masking some truly horrific secrets; or on the contrary, that what we imagine to be horrors are really our projections of our thoughts and feelings onto the forest itself, making it an unwilling accomplice, even victim, of Milat’s murders."
"At first, the feel of a sunburned desolate area, extremely calm and silent. Extremely low volumes, uncovering nearly inaudible filth, protecting the area from human interference once more. Second listen reveals lots of dynamics and when loud enough the understanding creeps in that something might very wrong. Not exactly power electronics, a genre known for its awkward tribute-paying to mass slaughterers, but certainly not less unnerving, just in a different way. Low volume seems to be part of the experience, as if the hidden message is there but it had to stay below the radar, evoking atmospheres of suddenly abandoned campfires, solitary walks and getting lost in unknown territory, adrenaline levels increasing as twilight arrives unexpectedly early. History of Violence plays mainly at the subconscious level, resulting in the strange perception that, once finished, one is not sure what really has occurred, other than that it is something to experience again."
The Sound Projector
"An eerie set of field recordings is History Of Violence, produced by the sound artist Philip Sulidae … In pursuit of this “placeness”, this nebulous and hard-to-define sensation, Sulidae has created a compelling result; while it’s possible to detect some nature sounds on these pieces, a lot of the time it’s really not clear what we’re listening to at all, and a palpable sense of tension and fear begins to build. This is particularly so on the third track, called ‘Slow dusk near long acre fire trail’, which comes very close to capturing on tape a sinister, crepuscular moment. Sulidae believes that this elusive quality he’s after is largely a matter of history, and that it’s our own perceptions and conditioning that lead us to “colour” our views of any given area; a mental “construct”, as he would have it. However, History Of Violence somehow manages to delve deeper than that."
"I quite enjoyed his work so far, which sometimes seemed quite raw and at other times very microsounding. This new work surely fits the latter body of works … These six pieces are very quiet, high pitched for whatever reason, and it's unclear to me whether this has any electronic processing, or whether this area is high pitched, insects maybe? I think a certain level of sound processing took place and it’s quite a frightening release, in a curious way. The sheer level of compression, to get all of these sounds together, make a very oppressive release, despite all the quietness that is going on here. But perhaps I am hearing too much in this release, maybe things that are not in there per se. I played this a couple of times, and the more I hear it, the more I like it. It all seems relatively easy made but it unfolds a lot of beauty actually. A great yet very much unsettling release."
A Closer Listen
"But which is the facade? Is the peaceful forest a facade for the violence imprinted on the leaves, the soil crying out for vengeance? Or is the public reputation of the forest a facade for the peace that lies within? When this album was first released, I chose not to write about it because I heard the former. But now that the weather is warm and the sun is bright, I hear the latter. The fact that Sulidae is able to preserve such a fine line is a testament to his compositional ability. History of Violence is an invitation to reflect on our psychic relationship to local environments: do we imbue settings with emotion, or simply project our feelings upon uncaring landscapes?"
"Very subtle indeed this manipulation, skirt silence and in the background there are wildlife sounds, some voices and minimalist atmospheres. Silence is present throughout the album with almost imperceptible bright timbres that achieved to give an aura of mystery to the desolate atmospheres of this album."