Music Reviews

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Artist: Atomine Elektrine (@)
Title: Laniakea
Format: CD
Label: Wrotycz Records (@)
Rated: *****

There probably aren't too many people who read Chain D.L.K. reviews that aren't familiar with the work of Peter Andersson. He's the man behind Raison d'être, Stratvm Terror, Necrophorus, Atomine Elektrine, Panzar, Svasti-ayanam, Bocksholm, Cataclyst and Grismannen. Back in the early '90's when I was first investigating the dark side of electronic music I couldn't get enough of the music of artists on the Cold Meat Industry label. It was inevitable that I'd discover Andersson's astounding work, and over the years he's become one of the most influential artists in the dark ambient genre. I ate up this stuff like crazy buying anything of his (and other similar artists) I could get my hands on. For me, Atomine Elektrine, and the fist album, 'Elemental Severance' seemed to be one of his more unusual projects; a repository for ideas that didn't seem to fit in elswhere in his ouevre. It was a hodge-podge of experimental electronica and sampling that ran the gamut from Enigma-esque instrumentals to Tangerine Dream-like space music to Dead Can Dancey structures, and a smidge of Raison d'être archaic gothiness with plenty of dialogue samples thrown in for good measure. Listening to it again in the present day it sounds a bit dated but there are still great moments. I kind of wrote it off as a one-off project, little realizing that Andersson would produce a half-dozen more albums under the Atomine Elektrine moniker (including this one) over the years. Imagine my surptise and delight then in discovering a new Atomine Elektrine CD in the latest review batch, although I found I had some catching up to do when I checked out the discography. From the little I was able to sample it seemed as though Atomine Elektrine had taken on a definite identity- much more electronic and cosmic space oriented, and also at times much heavier.

That brings us to 'Laniakea,' the most recent Atomine Elektrine album, and what a wonderful thing it is. The name means "immeasurable heaven: deep, spacious, dark and ostensibly empty but still full of energy, matter, structures and bright objects." A perfectly approprite title if there ever was one. In essence though, 'Laniakea' is an homage to Tangerine Dream and the passing of founding memeber Edgar Froese (who I was lucky enough to meet and interview back in the late '70's) as well as other "kosmiche musik" artists of the era. The album has five tracks, with an additional three for the CD version, a definite inducement to buy the physical product. It begins gently with "Centaurus" easing you in with with some melodic electronic ambient, then builds up the deep atmosphere with "Abell 3521". It's about 3 minutes before that oh so familiar TD hypnotic sequencer comes to fore, but when it does, it's nostalgic and glorious! Every element employed supports and enhances this wave of cosmic bliss that you hope might never end. "Virgo" moves into even deeper terrain, far beyond thyis earthly realm, floating in the void of the infinite. Then, out of nowhere, or everywhere, the hypnotic sequencer takes over again, with motion that becomes your travel engine. You have to love the subtle sonic manipulations and permutations that ensue, all the while maintaining the integrity of the structure. "Hydra" is somewhat lighter but still sequencer driven, a little respite before the awesomeness of "Fornax". This is the last stop on the cosmic express for those of you buying the digital download as opposed to the CD.

For those continuing on the journey, welcome to "Achernar" where a more sublime (and slightly metallic) hypnotic sequencer awaits. "Acamar" uses a staccato yet sublte sequencer to transport you to "Zeta Normae" firmly rooted in TD territory. 'Laniakea' doesn't really break new ground in the kosmiche musik genre, but it will give you that (hypnotic sequencer) fix you've been craving, and really, what more could you ask for?



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