May 2013 Short Reviews (Lamia Vox, Saåad, Yellow6 & David Newlyn)


Sigil­lum Diaboli’

Lamia Vox - Sigil­lum Diaboli [dis­cogs]

This here seal of the devil is one of those albums that I enjoy because one track grips me in par­tic­u­lar, and that is the utterly majestic opener “Born from the Abyss”. It is a vel­vety layer cake of misty chants and deep, warm synths that per­fectly recalls the hey­day of Scand­inavian dark ambi­ent, roughly fif­teen years ago. Cer­tainly not out of place on a label like Cyc­lic Law, that’s for sure.

The rest of this album, the work of St. Peters­burg res­id­ent Alina Ant­onova, is noth­ing to scoff at either, but it is def­in­itely a mood piece, a nos­tal­gic amal­gam of eth­er­eal, dark­wave, ritual, and ambi­ent influ­ences that epi­tom­ises goth atmo­sphere to me per­son­ally. It’s a fairly con­sist­ent album, but the best is at the start. Still, Sigil­lum Diaboli will be required fare for some of you, a dark work some­where between raison d’être, Coph NiaArcana, and more recently, Rose Croix.

Στερεά Σύννεφα’

Saåad - Στερεά Σύννεφα [band­camp]

This EP, ori­gin­ally on tape, con­tains one ori­ginal drone by Tolouse duo Saåad, and four remixes of the piece. The ori­ginal track is typ­ical for the duo, a thick wall of sound that is some­how warm and chilling at the same time. They res­ist draw­ing it out for too long, and most of the room on this tape is reserved for the inter­pret­a­tions of the other artists.

Listen­ing Mir­ror take the min­im­al­ist route, lead­ing in with two minutes of near-silence, form­ing a clean break between the ori­ginal track and the remixes. Once the volume picks up, “Nubides Sol­i­das” echoes the con­stant drone of the source track, but with a slightly more open, airy, and per­haps omin­ous tex­ture. Plec’s remix “Solid Clouds” adds in a little grit, but main­tains the gentle flow set out by the first two tracks. Noir Cœur, then, kicks things into over­drive with a steady beat, per­cus­sion, flutes; a com­pel­ling rhythmic energy, in short. Their “ठोस बादल” is a fine piece of work, a remix in the more rad­ical sense of truly own­ing a track. The same goes for “Feste Wolken” by Almeeva, who add in their own synth/rock sens­ib­il­ity, again mak­ing the track a lot heav­ier. A solid clos­ing track for an EP about solid clouds.

Since this is another free* / PWYW release, there no reason not to give it a listen right now.

O.S.

O.S.

Yellow6 & David Newlyn O.S.

O.S., a lim­ited hand­made release on Greek label Sound in Silence, is a nice and relax­ing duo effort by two artists who’ve cut their teeth as solo artists and in vari­ous col­lab­or­at­ive set­tings. For this release, Newlyn & Attwood each focus on one instru­ment, the lat­ter impro­vising melod­ies on elec­tric gui­tar (not unlike the style of his com­rade Dirk Ser­ries), while the former provides drones and swells on key­boards. While the synths drift a bit more to the back­ground due to the twangi­ness of Yellow6’s gui­tar, the bal­ance of sound is very good, and the two musi­cians know how to give each other enough room to man­oeuvre.

The atmo­sphere on the record, which clocks in a little under forty minutes, is gen­er­ally very laid back, some­times a bit obscure, some­times a bit psy­che­delic, and per­haps a little unas­sum­ing and easy­going. It may be the lack of pre­ten­sion of two musi­cians who know exactly what they’re good at and don’t want to take risks. While this doesn’t make for a very sur­pris­ing listen­ing exper­i­ence, it’s a very pleas­ant and calm one, and with the final track “Spiral Vaults” they do def­in­itely reach some bliss­ful ambi­ent heights.

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