V/A: The Dystopian World of J​.​G​.​Ballard



V/A: The Dystopian World of J​.​G​.​Ballard
Release date


  1. Grey Frequency: Fractured Smile
  2. Eraldo Bernocchi: High Rise
  3. HLER: Passport To Eternity
  4. Hector M. Reis: Crash
  5. Lars Brondum: Subliminal Man Part 1
  6. Joel Gilardini: The Garden Of Time
  7. Mario Lino Stancati: Crystal World
  8. vÄäristymä: The Disaster Area
  9. Mombi Yuleman: Auto Wreck Eroticism
  10. JARL: Labyrinth Of Images
  11. Lars Brondum: Subliminal Man Part 2
  12. Tarme Til Alle: The Wind From Nowhere


Project: Ambient Sonology 2
Concept: ZeroK

In April 2009, J. G. Ballard died at the age of 78. By the end of his life he was recognised as one of the greatest British writers of the latter half of the twentieth century. The acclaim his work has garnered stems from its unsettling ability to describe the present in collision with near but unexpected futures. His narratives operate according to the temporalities of car crashes, epidemics, and physiological shocks. The word ‘Ballardian’ has entered the Collins Dictionary as a term denoting ‘dystopian modernity’.

The fiction of J. G. Ballard delves deep into the human psyche, not only by exploring the relationships between its characters, but also by conveying the cityscape in terms of the mind. Either real or imaginary, the urban spaces reflect and are reflected by the minds of the protagonists. Influenced by the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud, the Jungian model of the psyche, the experiments in anti-psychiatry initiated by R.D. Laing, as well as the technological advancements of the new millennium, Ballard proposes a new type of fiction. The aim of his pursuit is to answer some of the pressing issues that the self is confronted with in an urban milieu... more
released June 3, 2022


Avant Music News

Richard Dodgin (This Is Darkness)
The Dystopian World of J​.​G​.​Ballard is another great compilation album from the Zero K label, featuring music from an impressive range of musicians (including HLER, JARL, and Lars Bröndum to name just a few). The album “… provides sound descriptions of the dystopian world … in his novels and short stories, creating an imaginary soundtrack of those s/f masterpieces …” with tracks of experimental, post industrial, drone, dark ambient, and electronica all fitting together nicely to create a remarkable listening experience. The album does have a cohesive feel to it, and yet the moods of the tracks vary: some are dark and confrontational, others are meditative and lo-fi, others yet are noisy, a number are minimalist, and others are challenging and disturbing. Fantastic.

Edited by ZeroK
Mastered by Raffaele Pezzella (Sonologyst)
Cover artwork: collage by RhaD
Photos by Gavin Morrow
© 2022. All rights reserved


V/A: The Dystopian World of J.G. Ballard: The Sound Projector Review

Having read some of British writer J G Ballard’s work in the past, I was curious to discover what sort of dystopian world might be imagined on this compilation from Zero K, the offshoot label of Raffaele Pezzella’s Unexplained Sounds label. I had imagined this compilation might be on the noisy, gritty side with perhaps one or two sudden car-crash explosions and the sound of crunching glass. Maybe even found sound recordings playing over and over ad nauseam the news of US President John F Kennedy’s assassination as his motorcade rolled through Dallas in 1963, Hollywood actress Jayne Mansfield’s death in a car collision with a trailer truck in 1967 or the deaths of Diana Spencer and Dodi Fayed in a car crash in Paris in 1997 might feature somewhere here. The music would range from noisily industrial and urban musique concrete collages to eerie minimalism suggesting abandoned factory sites and aircraft hangars or lonely islands in the Pacific Ocean. It would be as much spiky, jerky and not always internally consistent as it would be hypnotic and bristling with menace.

Instead what we have here from eleven artists is a remarkably consistent composite sound world of dark cavernous ambience, for the most part sombre and gloomy, and tending towards a smooth and droning delivery with few surprises. While the music is good, for me it doesn’t quite come close to sketching, even in a general way, the universe of J G Ballard’s imagination. Still, if you take these tracks as they are, and forget the premise that they are meant to serve and represent, they are very atmospheric, even meditative, and though they are dark, they are not hostile or menacing and some pieces are even quite comforting in their predictability and consistency.

Perhaps the one track that comes close to what I’d hoped for is JARL’s “Labyrinth of Images”, a skittery electronic world of insect simulacra, paralleling Ballard’s investigations of simulation in novels like “Crash” or “High Rise” in which his protagonists deal with traumas or solving crimes committed by cool-headed sociopaths by replicating acts of murder, sabotage or destruction over and over. As the track continues, it becomes ever more shrill and hysterical in tone, and derangement becomes a real possibility. It really does stand out from the rest of the music which I treat as a backdrop leading up to it and then away from it as the album continues to the end.

V/A: The Dystopian World of J.G. Ballard: Avant Music News Review

This compilation is notable in both its consistency and lack thereof. Its 12 tracks, spanning about 75 minutes, each involve some form of gritty drone, many with shimming or lilting looped structures. But these efforts have their own unique identities that make them all part of a greater whole. Contributors include Grey Frequency, Mario Lino Stancati, JARL, Eraldo Bernocchi, HLER, Hector M. Reis, Lars Bröndum, Joel Gilardini, vÄäristymä, Mombi Yuleman, and Tarme Til Alle.

Each piece was influenced in some fashion by the writings of science fiction author J.G. Ballard. Somewhat ahead of his time, Ballard is labeled with the word “dystopian”, as his stories from 50+ years ago broached subjects that have only recently lost most of their taboo nature. He famously wrote, “The advanced societies of the future will not be governed by reason. They will be driven by irrationality, by competing systems of psychopathology.” Look around and tell me that has not already happened.

In any event, the music is enjoyable in its subtle quietness, though punctuated by rumblings and spacey themes. There is a solidly retro feel to this set, with the use of field recordings as well as analog buzz and hiss. While the majority of these undertakings might be lumped into the experimental dark ambient bucket, the pair of sound collages from Lars Bröndum stand out as having more in common with the works of Tod Dockstader for example. Other tracks fall at various places on the spectrum between ambient and musique concrete.

Once again, a stellar collection of the weird and unexpected from Zero K, an Unexplained Sounds Group label.