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CD Feature/ V.A.: "Cryosphere"

img  Tobias

Escapism has always been a natural component of the arts, despite some snobs claiming the opposite. And, with the mysterious symbiosis between its capacity of emulating environments and leaving a considerable creative input to the observer, music will always remain the ideal vessel for escapism. With this in mind, the newly errected “Glacial Movements” label should quickly turn into a focal point for all friends of mind travelling. Intent on depicting landscapes of eternal ice, fields of frozen flowers and the vastness of landscapes stretching into infinity, its very purpose is to seduce listeners into the realms of a yet untouched continent. On “Cryopshere”, label founder Netherworld has invited some of his favourite artists to help shape the outlines of this world.

The way it looks, all of them were more than happy to provide him with an exclusive track for this sampler, which comes in a limited edition of 300 copies. The result is a strong line-up of almost excluisvely well-known names. Thus we find the omnipresent Aidan Baker alongside Dark Ambient masters Northaunt and Tho-So-Aa, Troum and Martin Franklin’s “Tuu” project, as well as a couple of contributions from musicians, who have been hiding under the surface just a little bit until now. As can be expected with regards of the scarcely vegetated, programmatic cryosphere, most have confined themselves to a minimum of musical elements in their pieces, as well as restricting dynamic movement – tracks remain either in the deeper end of the sonic spectrum (emphasising the threatening proportions of the landscape) or the upper region (describing its beauty). Glistening pads and drawn-out, shimmering  chords are also part of almost each track, which lends the compilation a feeling of unity and coherence seldomly found on comparable releases. Thanks to the diversity of the artists and the source material involved, though, there are always enough subtle surprises to keep things interesting. Among a set of strong efforts, a few stand out simply for them being different: “Closing the Eternity” use rugged impulses as metaphors for jagged rock silhouettes, Tho-So-Aa’s “Cryotesk” relies on the use of a minimal melodic theme to great effect and Troum’s “Giascei”, based on recordings of the mighty harbour of  Bremen, floats casually over stretched-out planes, before shaking things up with some majestic blows of a huge gong  And Netherworld’s own composition, the ten minute long “Kryos”, is a whitely shining cloud of humming effects and faint choral clusters.

Each of the tracks is a little excursion on its own, the entire disc a deep journey full of subconscious self-references, which works on various levels: Purists will be interested in how these entirely different approaches – Aidan Baker’s solo guitar, Troum’s field recordings and glass- and plastic-treatments, Northaunt’s processed piano or the “icewater sounds”/vibraphone and “hundreds of bells & chimes” employed by Closing the Eternity – yield a perfect blend. And for the dreamers, this is a shamelessly romantic piece of heavenly escapism.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Glacial Movements Records

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