Recapturing the search for moments of lost memory John Sellekaers’ brave expedition into unchartered territory serves as a reward for the depth of meaning. Observer Effect is unnerving yet warmly emotional as landscapes are surveyed via the whir of synthesized sound which flows freely, seemingly without the constriction of boundaries and all the while points you in directions to be discovered. It is of course deeply introspective sensing that space in-between light and dark but equally it’s an exhilarating experience such as on the soaring On the Trail, while the contrasting Shelter provides a reassuring embrace.
Four imaginations of sound occupy the space of Black Forest. A sometimes lonely existence that eloquently unfolds revealing a more open, rustic landscape. Drawing you in like a flame as embers disassociate and re-join lost memory in serene, almost spiritual ways. You get that strange sensation that in amongst all the intense waves of motion that something beautiful is escaping into your arms. All of which are simple thoughts received when listening to this joint venture of CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA & DIRK SERRIES, following on from their equally telling debut, The Storm Of Silence. There is of course an ambience to this but then again perhaps the longevity it strives for suggests Classical might be more of an appropriate word.
Brock Van Wey, aka bvdub provides the antidote to the notion that Ambience is merely something that hangs around in the background, opening out space for thought. While these ever evolving envelopes of sound are unfolded they do adorn the airwaves with a sense of contemplative room to think, but they are far from passive observations. Each of the ten speechless pieces purposively tear themselves across the spectrum of emotion as warmer climes are contrasted by tougher, more rugged landscapes. Touching joy, cutting darkness. Listen to the sheer, eloquent beauty of Not Yours To See…Reimagine the way you hear and see music.
What’s left to say? Stillness Soundtracks the suggestion that there may be a whole left undiscovered, hinting at something beneath the surface that isn’t instantaneously recognisable. Rutger Zuydervelt’s journey into the remote landscapes of sound is far from a solitary one as the music, mysterious as it is, invites you into its imagination as expectations reveal themselves. Sometimes blissful, sometimes altogether darker in temptation. This soundtrack to the visual artist Esther Kokmeijer’s exploration of Antarctica terrain is also an intensely private affair between you and what springs from the speakers. Five pieces form the moments and although it would be unfair to highlight one in particular the warm rushes of emotion and melodic textures emanating from Stillness #9 (Hanusse Bay, Antarctica) are very appealing. Leaving you with the concluding Stillness #10 (Antarctic Sound, Antarctica) by also equalling the charm, this time via choir-like poignancy which is quite breath-taking, the score completes. The accompanying artwork is typically striking, likewise from Glacial Movements, which is incidentally just as well as Rutger Zuydervelt designs them all.
To say that this is soul music would not be correct. However to say this is music for the soul would so obviously be right. Behind the alias is Alessandro Tedeschi who also founded Glacial Movements and this selection of musical landscapes delves deep into his psyche – I suspect yours too when you listen. Composed entirely on a Roland VP9000 alongside a wash of various effects the music stretches out the imagination in ways to be revealed, as notes and the dialogue of sound is whispered, sometimes spoken more loudly and forcefully. Mastered and co-produced alongside Matteo Spinazzè Savaris the notes themselves talk several languages of emotional beauty and turmoil. And while it is difficult to describe it to a T, as music is such a personal and subjective matter, it is a deeply immersive experience that you will find yourself in. You may also find yourself lost in. There is an ecological story to be told as well, highlighted by the accompanying artwork which was shot by photographer Carsten Egevang, regarding Greenland’s endangered Sled Dog population. I guess that suggestion of loss comes from that not so hidden danger…
Spanning five separate tracks I would also suggest that music of this scale which is not about melody and conventional song, but about something altogether more organic and primal, despite being created solely via electrical impulses, feels perfectly human.
Processing the word FRAME together with a succession of recorded images was the original idea behind Eugenio Vatta and Andrea Benedetti’s sonic project which began in 1992. Since that beginning a wealth of material has been produced now reaching 2019 with this startling new collection of ten pieces set to be released on the excellent Glacial Movements. In ways the darker, low-lights of winter are the correct setting for these sounds to illuminate the panorama as each track focuses on a separate planet surrounded by its own infinite silence, however space creates uniquely particular aural distortions, while the environment is far from quiet. Listening to the successive compositions gives you a sense of pleasurable unease that strangely feels reassuring yet also suggests a totally unknown quantity. Somewhere between meditative bliss and science fiction at a guess. Working in the live field both artists have created a masterpiece of atmospheres and their work here will penetrate even the most hardened soul.
Outstanding. But before we go employing lazy associations and cliques with regards to music that sources ambience as inspiration let’s just say that this album isn’t simply about mood creation but pushes further at the edges of existence. That might be heart-wrenching intensity or richly dark moments. Equally the rush of romance or happy possibilities which seem endless. There mercifully is not a rule book to follow here and it’s that very excitement that engulfs you in swathes of warm, difficult, probing, melancholy, electronically charged excitement. Another great release from Glacial Movements and of course via Robin Rimbaud. One last thought: if you imagined that the genre was washed out. Listen again. Perhaps the cover art says it all.
Aware aka Alexander Glück presents this startlingly impressive collection of music as you would read a story, albeit one without a definitive ending. Each track blends seamlessly into the next telling as each composition does via its title beginning with: so he got up and ate and drank, then leaving you at number fourteen, and went out. These charming soundscapes evolve courtesy of your speakers in a most thrilling way if you value the words mood, music, ambience. Funny, but I don’t you could describe any single piece as a favourite – except perhaps the tearing melancholy of, but god was not in the storm – however The Book Of Wind merits and demands listening to in its saturated, blissful entirety.
And the world keeps turning. If you recently tuned into Brian Eno’s latest escapade, the wondrous: Refection then I’d strongly suggest experiencing Johannes Malfatti’s quietly epic, aptly titled Surge for many of the very same reasons. I’ll avoid the word Ambient or Ambience here for no other explanation than pre-conceived ideas. If Eno’s record was for dipping in and out of at will, or feeding the background to your sub-conscious then perhaps Surge is all that but then again, perhaps that in itself is all the more significant an experience than cliqued electronics played out over mindless drums with unimaginative arrangements produced to cause some sort of mindless sensation. This is the opposite of that. It expands your mind. You can gaze out of the window, do anything you like while this plays. Endlessly evolving in a non-too specific way but which fires up your senses, letting you escape into or engage fully with them. The endless soundwave which constitutes almost an hour of your time makes the room feel bigger. It is pro-active yet soothingly passive. It was written in the Austrian Alps in the winter of 2016 and you can hear why.