This just in – a review from Textura.org of the latest on Hypnos, from Numina:
“Judging on the basis of The Deception of Reality, Numina’s deep ambient is about as deep as ambient gets. American ambient composer Jesse Sola takes the listener on a seventy-five-minute journey through the outer reaches of space on his fourth Numina release on Hypnos and his first since 2007’s Shift to the Ghost. Though five tracks are indexed and titled, the material plays like an uninterrupted travelogue of epic proportion and immersive character. As a purely listening experience (and played loud enough for maximum impact), the material exudes a grandiose quality and registers as the sonic equivalent of a towering classical architectural structure.
The Deception of Reality carves out an immense reverberant space within which radiant synthetic elements resound and where impenetrably dense textures form backdrops to shimmering electronics and serpentine melodic patterns. Percussive strikes intermittently emerge, though they have less impact in this context when the non-percussive elements are already pitched at such a high level. Long swaths of synthetic sounds stretch across the vast spaces and ethereal choral voices occasionally surface, too. The intensity level remains feverishly high throughout the opening parts, “The Illusion Transmission” and “Our Elegant Experience,” which makes “In Cerulean Haze” all the more appealing for providing a ten-minute interlude of relative placidity and quietude. The nearly twenty-minute “Empire of Nothing” perpetuates that serene state in its swirls of washes and softly whistling tones, after which the luminous “Translunary Return” provides an equally soothing resolution to the project as a whole. That the album is heavily synth-based is borne out by sleeve info
that lists the synthesizers (eight by my count) that Sola used to generate the tracks’ sounds. Production details aside, The Deception of Reality clearly suggests that lovers of deep ambient will find Numina’s material satisfying in the extreme.”
–Reviewed by Textura.org
Our thanks to the crew at Textura!
Here’s a nice new review of Numina’s latest on Hypnos, The Deception of Reality. The review is written by Bert Strolenberg for the Sonic Immersion review site.
“From the labels notes on Jesse Sola’s concept release “The Deception of Reality” I learned it’s about introspective escapism while balancing light and dark themes, with the music transporting the listener to wherever they wish the music to take them.
Jesse’s previous two albums already opened the doorway to a much deeper and darker-flavoured sonic environment, something that nicely continues on the five lengthy, uninterrupted pieces on this 75-minute album. We’re talking about spacious, slighty melodic but overall expansive soundscapes here that venture into alternate realities with lots of mystic caverns and longform dwellings into the vast unknown.
Besides occasional undercurrents of mourning and melancholy, Numina’s expressive, constantly evolving and overall emotive textures paints beautiful pictures, all fitting in a grand, transparent design. I though can imagine the drifting flow making up the rather Roach-oriented 19-minute “Empire of Nothing” may be a bit too minimal for some. Fortunately, the smooth, warm and dreamy waves of the final track “Translunary Return” again pull things in a different direction.
All in all, if you love imaginary and in-depth ambient soundscape music, the excellently mastered “The Deception of Reality” won’t disappoint the least.”
–Reviewed by Bert Strolenberg, Sonic Immersion
Our thanks to Bert for this review.
Buy the CD for $12.99, or read more, or hear clips.
The Martian Chronicles by Seren Fford and Oöphoi, reviewed by John Stranahan at Hypnagogue:
Drone masters Seren Fford and Oöphoi interface with the spirit of Ray Bradbury on the long-form ambient work The Martian Chronicles. This is an impressionistic work, the sounds and drones carving images of the Martian landscape in your mind. And that landscape evolves across time. At the outset, the scene is sparse, windswept red dust issuing over cold ground. A sense of loneliness gnaws through the sound. Late in the first track, “The Long Years,” the feeling is so stripped down it becomes almost unnerving. The duo carry the unease straight into “Dead Cities,” where low funereal drones moan under a quiet, freezing hush. As the piece goes along it slowly grows in vibrancy and light, moving us into a more inviting landscape. It’s the first sense of forward motion, of narrative discovery. We understand that we’re on the cusp of something, and it arrives in “Blue Fire” with some unexpected percussion. We’re taken through a brief passage with tribal overtones, like a look into some lost civilization’s past or the finding of some indigenous culture’s outpost. It’s a great touch, even as slight as it is, after such a long ambient stretch. This is where the tone of the disc begins to shift toward the optimistic and organic. Water is discovered in “Canals,” the sound quietly burbling over warm ambient cloud formations. Again, the tone here is warmer and more welcoming than in earlier tracks. We’ve arrived somehow at a different, hospitable Mars. More signs of life come with “Flamebirds Waiting for the Storm.” The chittering of a thousand electronic Martian avians bounce and dance over a virtually unchanging drone. Thunder begins to roll in the background. The simplicity of the undercurrent tone is amazingly effective, a straight-line constant against the chaos laid over it. The disc closes with the prayer-like chant of “Unremembered,” a quite straightforward ambient piece, meditative and reverent.
Throughout The Martian Chronicles, the layering of sounds is incredible. Even in the most still-wind moments there’s motion and depth and interplay. This is the kind of disc where you pop on the headphones, lay in the dark, and let your mind start building scenery. The sensations that Seren Fford and Oöphoi are able to convey through their sounds are quite visceral and moving. In addition, the movement of the disc, start to finish, is one of the best examples of creating a sonic narrative that I’ve heard in a while. There is an arc here, and it’s fully developed and completely realized. This is a truly masterful piece of work.
Many thanks to John Stranahan for this review!
Buy the CD for $12.99, or read more, or hear clips.
Here’s a review of Herion’s CD Out and About which I failed to post at the time it was received.
“While surely stringently composed, the music flows freely. The experience is sort of like wandering through a whitewashed gallery with bold abstracts hanging from its walls.
The premiere house for darkish, interstellar, synthesized ambient since the late nineties, American label Hypnos hits an estimable peak with its first digipak release, the debut recording by a trio in which acoustic instruments take the star turns. Down the years, the label has helped new acts make a name for themselves and released some of the best work by respected veterans including Robert Rich, Oöphoi and Vidna Obmana. Herion is a combination of the two – newly-formed as a group, its line-up boasts two well-received young solo artists, Emanuele Errante and Enrico Coniglio, along with pianist Elisa Marzorati. The viola of Piergabriele Mancuso is also prominently featured.
Out and About is rich, uplifting chamber ambient. Laptops and synthesizers are featured in the arsenal mustered by Errante and Coniglio but are used sparingly. The acoustic properties of “Oxg,” “Lindos,” “Cab,” “One Minute After the Sunset,” expand and contract, emanating organic charm and clean, modern design. While surely stringently composed, the music flows freely. The experience is sort of like wandering through a whitewashed gallery with bold abstracts hanging from its walls.
An unfortunate watershed occurs about two-thirds through with a sound collage experiment called “The Hanging Glacier;” happily, it only takes up two and a half minutes of your time. But the three pieces
which follow never seem to recapture the essence of what was making this record special; they seem to have lost their way. Fortunately, the very last impression Out and About makes on you is a restorative
solo piano outing by Marzorati.”
–Review by Igloo Mag
Just received this fine review of the latest Caul CD from Matt Howarth and Sonic Curiosity.
“Caul is Brett Smith.
A variety of instruments are employed in conjunction with electronics to generate soothing tuneage.
In one track, piano delineates passages of delicate resonance. In another, guitars establish a mildly bouncy mood. One piece flourishes with cerebral cellos, while another utilizes the darker timbre of bass in tandem with crisply twinkling keyboards to create a gentle flow. Another track combines soft violins with heavenly chorales to achieve a celestial demeanor. While another piece takes a dark turn with remote percussives, grinding guitar chords and ominous tonalities, all of which accomplish a pensive mood more than any sense of dread.
While electronics are definitely present (often in a subtle fashion that serves to mesh everything together) their presence is generally too subliminal to clearly detect.
Despite their versatility, these compositions share a common temperament of pensive melodies. The music is somber, but not dark; relaxed, but not drab. No matter what you want to classify it as, though, the end result is satisfying, rewarding the listener with a pleasant sonic environment. Since the tracks are all short, the type of pleasantness changes in definition but remains constant in its lilting result.”
–Review by Matt Howarth, Sonic Curiosity
Purchase for $12.99 on Hypnos Online Store