RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

CD Feature/ Amon & Nimh: "Sator"

img  Tobias

Can there be a thing like a playful Dark Ambient album? The relaxed mood in which “Sator” came into existence certainly already reveals quite a bit about its content. Afe Records founder Andrea Marutti initially met up with Giuseppe Verticchio of Nimh to simply record a few tracks together. The mood in the studio and the pleasant nature of their interaction meant that they ended up with two album’s worth of material, the first of which is now being released on Eibon Records. Of course, the result is still dark and somber. But underneath the heavy moods, the spirit of experimentation and the joy of working on something which opens in every direction imaginable is immanent.

This is all the more welcome as Dark Ambient, despite all of its promises and potential, has become something of a dead end of lately when it comes to finding new modes of expression. The goal has been more in refining what has been achieved (which is quite a bit, as it has greatly matured from its crude beginnings) than in taking things to a new level – or at least in trying to find a distinctive voice of its own. That “Sator” would be a more individual affair was kind of clear right from the start. Marutti has built up Afe as an imprint which focuses on quality rather than clear-cut genres, even allowing his releases to stray into rhythmical territory occasionally and preferring multi-faceted artists over stereotypical ones. Already the long list of instruments used for “Sator” points to a poly-tentacled approach, in which synthesizers, sequencers and samplers are merely one of the components in a setup including e-bow guitars, field recordings, metals and objects, tapes and a Russian Box Zither. A lot of this colourful equipment is actually treated to a degree that their original sound properties blend into the mix, leaving only faint traces – but always enough to make the nightly visions turn somewhat more humane and rich in texture. In the same degree, special care has gone into the arrangements, which take the listener through various mental states and through different stages, never ending at the same place where they began their journey. While the opening “Rotas” is still a greyish mass of monochromatic reverberations and high-pitched streaks of light, already the second track, “Opera” transforms into a vaguely rhythmical and mysteriously occult offering with discreet cymbal drones and metallic chimings. Going from there, languid melodies try to fight their way through tectonic plates, electric chirping melts with futuristically-symphonic ambiances, sweet motives are slowly buried underneath sonic rubble and muffled voices merge into moments of spaceous clarity.

Marutti and Verticchio (as well as their regular third collaborator Daniela Gherardi) have concentrated on a select amount of tracks for each title, which makes them all the more organic. It is also a statement of intent. Instead of clustering their pieces with endless lines of manipulations in order to lend them a superficial deepness, they have allowed them to remain open, giving the listener the chance to fill in the gaps with his imagination. Maybe “playful” is not really the correct term for this atmospheric and dense work. But it is certainly one which uses the elements of the Dark Ambient genre and shuffles them around with all the respect in the world yet in a mood of trying out different things.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Amon
Homepage: Nimh
Homepage: Eibon Records

Related articles

CD Feature/ V.A.: "Patchwork Connect - Dead Wood tracks Remixed"
Drones, microsound and careful attempts ...
Vital Weekly 585
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Matthew Dear/False: 2007 arrives
Matthew Dear, composer and producer ...
CD Feature/ Edgey vs Depth Error: "The Abuse Technique"
Just like coffee: Two figureheads ...
Vital Weekly 542
Frans de Waard presents the ...
Vital Weekly 534
Frans de Waard presents the ...
CD Feature/ Fear Falls Burning: "The Amplifier Drone"
FFB has now turned to ...
CD Feature/ Latitude/Longitude
THe quietest space rock imaginable.
Vital Weekly 530
Frans de Waard presents the ...
CD Feature/ Luciano Berio: "Sequenzas I-XIV"
This could be an investment ...
The Strength of Silence
Current releases by Autechre/The Hafler ...
CD Feature/ Hypnosphere: "Within the Whirl"
Elevating, but just as addictive

Partner sites