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Netherworld: Over the Summit

img  Tobias Fischer

Alessandro Tedeschi's two identities as the producer hiding behind the Netherworld moniker and the label boss of the glacial movements imprint are well-known by now. Intriguingly, he has two homes, too. One of them is sunny Italy, his current physical residency. The other, a more spiritual one, is located considerably farther up North – and  it is the very place Tedschi has dedicated Over the Summit to: Hyperborea. This  country from Greek mythology provided him with his nom de plume and inspired a fascination for his personal vision of ambient in which each single tone feels like a world onto itself. And it has imbued him with the desire and ability of conveying frosty solitude and beckoning passion at the same time.

Over the Summit makes use of sounds induced by northern lights (without actually revealing where one might be able to find these and how one could record them), a variety of additional field recordings and an array of unspecified „found sounds“. The only traditional instrument you'll find here is a violin – and you'll be hard pressed to actually recognise it in the mix. From these materials, Tedeschi weaves a 58-minute work resting calmly within itself without neglecting the notion of development: There is a recognisable tension arc running through the record, from the calm yet wilful opening title track with its wind-like sheets of fragmentary sound and harmonic „Aurora performs its last show“, which makes use of messages from a polar station, to the untypically low-register pads of „Crystallized Words“. In the final stage of the album, „Thoughts Locked in Ice“ and „Iperborea“ are again picking up on these moods. Especially the latter piece, which closes Over the Summit, returns to the sparse beginnings of the album, before, in the very last moments, rising up one last time.

What makes Over the Summit such a captivating experience are its inner calm and precision in terms of sound selection; mood and timbre are congenially complementing each other and they bind these six tracks together without blurring out the individual narratives as such. By constructing a sonic panorama of fleeting indirectness, composed of nothing but a few, carefully placed bass accents, Tedeschi creates an ambiance of gripping, ghoulish quality: There don't seem to be any hidden threats here, a bright light is shining, the landscape opening up in front of the listener is void and clear. And yet, it would still be there without an observer being present. You may feel at home here, but you'll always remain a stranger.

By Hellmut Neidhardt

Homepage: Glacial Movements Records

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