Music Reviews

Uruk: Mysterium Coniunctionis

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 30 2018
Artist: Uruk
Title: Mysterium Coniunctionis
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Ici d’ailleurs/Mind Travels
This is the second album to come out of the teamwork between Coil collaborator Thighpaulsandra and Italian jazzcore trio Zu’s bassist Massimo Pupillo. It continues the dark ambient sinister flavours of their 2017 album “I Leave A Silver Trail Through Blackness” and offers up two twenty-minutes-ish slabs of rumbles and growls playing against mellower pads and chords, a fusion of artificial and organic sources that unfolds with a super-slow calmness.

After a few minutes of the discombobulating sounds of purring alien kittens, first track “Spagyria” steps up a cinematic style of tension, as though underscoring the suspense part of a real-time horror movie. As it progresses it teases memories of “The Rites Of Mu” and beyond that, slightly more structured two-note synth basslines that almost hint at John Carpenter.

“Solve Et Coagula” continues in much the same vein, though the addition of some white and possibly other-coloured noise in a gradual build as the second half unfolds is notable for its anti-sleep properties if the preceding womb-like calmness has lulled you into drowsiness. Again, tiny glimmers of proto-techno and faintly industrial percussion pass by, fleeting, almost teasingly out of reach.

It’s a richly textured and highly detailed bit of dark ambient soundscaping with an unquestionable pedigree, one of those “you can’t go wrong” releases for late night absorption.

Andreas Davids: Landscapes

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 28 2018
Artist: Andreas Davids (@)
Title: Landscapes
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
I had previously reviewed Andreas Davids’ “Grey” for Chain D.L.K. and enjoyed its spacey synth soundscapes, so I was interested to see how this one would compare. So let’s get right into it. “Mountains” starts us off with an interesting mix of clanging percussion and drone washes with some random sounds mixed in for good measure. Next up is “Sea,” and if this is a sea, it is not a placid one. The dissonant drones give the sense of the vast expanse of the ocean, while still letting you know that if you turn your back on it for even a moment it will completely destroy you. Like the sea, it is constantly shifting, while providing the illusion of remaining the same. “Coast” shifts gear entirely, with distorted, staticy beats and a repetitive bass line that sounds like 60cyle hum run through a malfunctioning distortion pedal. Interesting, but not something that would hold my interest over time like the first two tracks. “Underwater” finishes it all off with some heavy bass punching through the sounds of wind, synth drone, and clicking percussion. This is not underwater off the coast with fish swimming peacefully around the coral reef. No, you’re stuck in a derelict sunken ship and your light just ran out of batteries and your oxygen is running low. Out of the corner of your eye you see the faint outline of sharks circling above. This disc weighs in at around 20 minutes.

Autoclav1.1: Daylight Saving EP

 Posted by eskaton   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 28 2018
Artist: Autoclav1.1 (@)
Title: Daylight Saving EP
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
I was unfamiliar with this project, which is the work of one Tony Young. According to his website, Autoclav1.1 fuses “huge orchestral compositions, IDM, Ambient, and Modern Electronica, with twinges of Industrial and Rock; Autoclav1.1 has gained a reputation for pulling on the deepest of human emotions with a variety of melody, frequently torn apart by paranoid beatwork and broken rhythmical structures.” This album consists of two tracks. The first, “The Cost of Light,” is an uneasy wall of synth and low-end rumble that envelops the listener. As the track ebbs and flows along, you get a sense of what the soundtrack to the earth moving would actually sound like. You, unfortunately, will not have the same experience that I had, however, because while I was listening to this the earth actually moved. Yes, there was actually an earthquake in my area and this made an excellent soundtrack to that feeling of motion. Don’t believe me? I verified it with the US Geological Survey and it was a 3.9 magnitude earthquake about 5 miles from me. I live in California, so it happens. “The Free Hour” brings it to a close with a track that brings in dark bass drone and waves of high end tones that make for an ominous feel. This reminded me of Lycia’s work, which is always a good thing. Overall this was quite good and made me want to hear much more of this artist. This album weighs in at around 16 minutes.

Ben Rath: Anything Is Possible

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 20 2018
Artist: Ben Rath
Title: Anything Is Possible
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Sound In Silence
Manchester-based Ben Rath’s return to the Sound In Silence label is a confidently mellow serving of ambient electronica built from ebbing and flowing layers of gentle, very digital-sounding synth pads, warm drones, a handful of polite and neutered guitar tones and some seriously soft atmospherics.

This is soporific, lull-you-to-sleep material throughout, from the church-like reverb washes of “Flow Of Creation”, through the languid strumming of “Innate Value”, to the soft coloured noise of “All Part Of One”, to the melodic bell-tone chords of the title track that closes the album, these are all very familiar elements that you’ve heard before- but, like a comfort food recipe, there’s no harm in hearing them reassembled again with measured confidence.

It’s an ambient album that won’t blow your mind, but if you’re looking for an aural comfort blanket with a decent sheen, then this will fit the bill very nicely.

øjeRum: Selv I Drømme Lyser Den Første Sne

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Ambient / Electronica / Ethereal / Dub / Soundscapes / Abstract
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Jun 18 2018
Artist: øjeRum
Title: Selv I Drømme Lyser Den Første Sne
Format: LP
Label: Midira Records
Although labelled as consisting of two versions of the title track, sonically the two twenty-minute-ish tracks on this release are quite distinct.

Both are appropriately cold for a release which translates as “Even In Dreams The First Snow Glows”, but it’s the first piece- with no version label- that’s the truly barren affair. A cold, windy soundwall of ambience, with gentle throbs and waves, it’s soporific without overdoing the melancholy. It is a touch on the plain side and perhaps doesn’t justify a whole twenty-minute excursion (a whole side of the limited edition trans-violet vinyl) but it’s richly textured and appreciable.

The addition of Aaron Martin’s cello loops on the second version doesn’t change the atmosphere, but they absolutely change the tone. Suddenly we are into a macabre neo-classical piece, with a feeling of improvisation and fleeting patterns of melody borne out of the layering-up of pure-sounding, reverb-laden, quite purist cello playing. While the melodies are technically the same, it’s a whole other piece.

As such, it ends up feeling back to front. This release is going on my own personal ‘go to sleep’ playlist, but backwards, because track 2 is the gradual emotive settling down, and it feels more appropriate that it’s followed by the soundscape ambience of track 1 for the final dip out of consciousness.

Neither track is revolutionary but if you’re looking for ambient works that are cold yet mellow, give this a listen.

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