Raw, rugged, sharp-edged: For a long time, these were the most fitting descriptions for the music that Nicky Mao has been releasing under the pseudonym Hiro Kone for roughly a decade. The cornerstones of their sound were primarily techno, post-industrial, EBM, dub, noise and experimental computer music, and collaborations with Drew McDowall or Little Annie, among others, also spoke a clear language. »Silvercoat The Throng,« Mao’s fourth album and the third for Dais, now hits quite different notes, however. Although the opener »Mist to Petrifact« uses roaring sounds, brooding drones and ghostly vocals to create a rather eerie atmosphere, Mao further differentiates and expands the sound palette over the course of the seven following tracks. Moving from from gruelling midtempo techno to a tense sculptural piece of sound art, which forms the foundation for a spoken word part by travis channelling his inner Eugene S. Robinson, to a collaboration with speaker music characterised by complex, swirling kicks, glossy pads and clicks’n’cuts sounds reminiscent of SND, »Silvercoat the Throng« offers an engaging variety of styles spread out in only 19 minutes. On the flipside of the LP, it only gets more complex. »Parting Phrase« is a droning piece featuring organ and string sounds, while on the title track, produced together with Muqata’a, vocal samples are looped and manipulated beyond recognition and integrated into rattling rhythms. »Stom« is based on drones and crackling noise, and »Malady of Duration« closes the album with elements that seem to mimick chamber music conventions while nevertheless displaying a distinctly electronic sound. Taken together, all of this results in a thoroughly heterogeneous overall package, but each track by Hiro Kone has a certain signature that holds everything together. However, their sound can no longer be described as just raw, rugged and sharp-edged, but at times also very refined, delicate and intricate.