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CD Feature/ Closing the Eternity: "Northern Lights Ambience"

img  Tobias

There could hardly have been a more suitable opener for the “Cryopshere” sampler of the newly founded Glacial Movements label than “Pulse of Iceilance” by Closing the Eternity – and not only because 121, the artist behind the project, hails from Siberia himself. In some mysterious way, the music by this man echoes not only the sombre mood of the darker days of the year, but of the entire Russian soul, that enigmatic phenomenon vaguely described by Tolstoi, Dostojevski or Bulgakov, which comes to us in the form of the loner, the dreamer, the lost sinner and the defeatist, with a smile on his face and a tear in his eye. No wonder, then, that “Northern Lights Ambience” strays from the packed streets of the city and retreats to the beauty of nature, to the place where even the saddest heart can come to rest.

It certainly is no place for irony. You may call this record kitschy or self-indulgent, write it off as unsurprising or deride it as pessimistic, but you can not laugh at it. There is something “real” about it, a tangible discomfort, a material pain engraved in the grooves of the vinyl. It is in the way the darkly blue shimmering 7’’ slips out of the black cover, with the “Closing the Eternity”-logo glued onto it like a piece of glass cut out of a silver mirror. It is the way the A-side commences with a sorrowful string ensemble caught up in the middle of a fog-clouded forest, the washes of cold air covering up the musicians and then again dissolving for fractions of a second., the way the mood struggles on with heavy knees, relentless und unchanging, bleak sounds and nightly gaggles dropping in and out of the picture. On the surface, the fundamentals have stayed intact, the haunting melodies and melancholic harmonies, but as one closes in, all movement disappears. On the B-side, glassy stalagtites hang from a crackling sky, red and orange convulsions exploding inside the grey. Frizzling and sizzling noises everywhere, but who knows what’s cooking – the needle of the player or Hanibal Lector adding wine to the cerebrum? 121’s methods are the basic tools of the genre, he carefully layers his drones until the mind falls for the illusion of space, he blows his sonic objects up with reverb like doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to an Alien egg and distorts all aural events into oblivion. Yet what was one to expect? More than on any previous Drone Records release, you know how the music was conceived, you know how it works and still you can not ignore it, put it aside like the latest “Robbie Williams” album. “Northern Lights Ambience” does something to you, the way that the recognisable but cryptic proceedings of an orthodox mass can do something to you if only the synapses are open.

You flip the disc, listen to it again, hearing the same instruments, the same structures and yet the impact remains. Everyone is free to find the answer to this paradoxon for himself, but its root must lie in the Russian soul, which time and time again breaks through the seemingly obvious sounds like a shadow follows a man wherever he may go to – to his wedding, to a funeral or to the gallows. It is somehow characteristic that Closing the Eternity have recorded an entire catalogue of albums, which still remain unreleased, just freezing in the Siberian cold, shivering on some hard disc in Ekaterinenburg. You can find that bizarre or surreal – but you sure as hell can’t laugh at it.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Closing the Eternity
Homepage: Drone Records

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