Taâlem (Alm 94) | 21’35” | CDR + Digital | Unlimited Edition | December 04, 2013
01. Sastrugi / At the gates of
02. A white place
The album is inspired by the idea that the “cold” is an existential, psychological and social state of being, not just a climatic and landscape characteristic of some geographical areas of the planet. The remoteness, detachment from everyday life, from the ordinary world, is a tension of the soul. As the searching for isolation, for a greater introspection and better understanding of the relationship between oneself and other. Since the new way of being alone, today, is likely to be together with others.
21 Minutes (2 Tracks) of Glacial ambient created by ∅e (Fabio Perletta: guitar, loops) and Enrico Coniglio (guitar, field recordings, sampler). The (december 2013) release was especially postponed because the music perfectly fits the winter season. The opening sounds of a harsh winter storm might give you some extra chills. But in summer, this wide musical landscape full of fascinating details may help you cool down when desired!
By title and tone, Øe and Enrico Coniglio’s Inner Frost is intended to be a winter recording; little imagination is needed to feel the frost in these currents. The chords accumulate like snow drifts, intimating a deep winter, dangerous enough to chill the marrow. The higher pitches resonate like pinging icicles or tinnitus. As the frost sets in, it penetrates the psyche; this inner frost is a cold heart, a suspicious mind, an unmotivated body. Like a mountain climber suffering from hypoxia, it offers strange aural delusions: a growl toward the beginning of “A White Place” may be that of a polar wind advancing through the wind. And yet, the music itself never falls into torpor. Swirling, drifting, falling or rising, it continues in motion, a blizzard that stills everything in its path without itself becoming still.
Of Enrico Coniglio I heard before, through his releases on Silentes, Psychonavigation, Glacial Movement and his collaboration with people like Oophoi and Giovanni Iami. Here he works with Fabio Perletta, known from his own Farmacia901 label, and his work with Richard Chartier, Yann Novak, Lawrence English, Simon Whetham and Fabio Orsi. Together they use guitar, field recordings, sampler, laptop, loops and acoustic guitar. These two men connect more to the music of Tone Color, or perhaps with the whole genre of ambient music in general, or perhaps better: the kind of ambient music Vital Weekly deals with a lot. Dark, sustaining, working with overtones generated from a simple and single sound source and then slowly expanding into this whole universe of sounds, but never really tacky, in a new age sense. In ‘A White Place’ a nasty high end sort of sine wave peeps around the corner which makes this most certainly stranger than any new age record would ever do. On this grey December morning, this is the best kind of music one can hope for. A bit desolate, a bit grey, but also nicely warm enough, and, to be honest also, not the kind of thing I haven’t heard before. But who cares about that?
Is this not an intriguing cover artwork? Does not it come over as strange and confusing? How should one interpret this odd formation, this weird arrangement of snow and ice? And how does the music play into this? Questions, ever more questions.
Uncertainty? Is this the way this release should be read? Uncertainty? The intense wind with which the release opens, the strange noises that enter later and the rather mystic otherworldly sound of the ambient, whose part dominates this release, are these the facets that cannot be neglected with a cover like this? Is it mandatory to remind the listener to the harshness of an environment in which ice and snow dominate over everything else? At least it appears to be the case on Inner Frost. First the setting of the stage, then the reward for keeping attention and following the band. Somehow as if the listener had to wander through a snow storm and had to seek shelter in a cave or some sort. Then something happens: either the winds break down and a magical scenery lays bare in front of the listener or this person might have entered some kind of cave, whose play with light and sound creates an otherworldly atmosphere.
Whatever may be the truth is actually not important. Those sounds and textures can be interpreted in numerous kind of ways and each of them might have their own merit. Two tracks appear on this release and together they have a length of over twenty minutes; but these are not equally shared among them. Roughly two-third belong to the opener and his intense collection of atmospheres, while the other one is comparably shorter as well as focussed. Both have things in common but nevertheless differ clearly from each other.
The arrangements and the style are what can be expected from music with a focus on such a scenery. On the one hand there is the definite sound of what persists and what sets most of the stage and then there are those small elements which change and alter what can be seen, felt and experienced: maybe a small avalanche, maybe some alteration in the setting of the light. Broad textures of ambient and drone on the one hand with playful short noise fragments on the other. The contrast of what you know and of what you hope for. It is icy and cold as well as warm and providing comfort at the same time. Those powerful textures create a certain sense of comfort and stability.
All in all an interesting release.