Friday, August 14, 2020
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Artist: SEMPERVIRENS
Title: Dirge of the Dying Year
Format: CD
Label: Stellar Auditorium
Rated: *****
Estonian artist Margus Mets has allegedly recorded at least 6 full-length albums, but I guess this is the first one to receive public distribution, thanks to the newborn Stellar Auditorium imprint. Despite its gloomy title, "Dirge of the Dying Year" is a shady and elegiac, but not entirely bleak ambient disc, and for once I've found the press sheet suggestions (Biosphere, Northaunt, Brian Eno) totally appropriate. "Grey Skies above Us" opens with a low droning lament, layered with natural field recordings; then, an organ-sounding melody, full of nostalgia, rises from this more abstract tapestry. While the album is mostly based on obscure, a-melodic atmospheres (see "Sunken Consciousness"), Mets is not afraid to add some more openly musical passages here and there: the guitar picking of "Sails Engulfed in Fog & Fire" even has a '70's psych-folk feel, and "There Will Come Soft Rains" is a lullaby of refracting backward melodies. The not-so-exciting moments are limited to the jarring decayed tune of "I Rembember Everything", and a certain monotony if you take the whole album in one go; but "Dirge of the Dying Year" is good enough to leave you wanting to hear more.

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