May 2011 Short Reviews (Aderlating, Cubs, Dementia ad Vitam, Szymon Kaliski)

Ader­lat­ing - Spear of Gold and Ser­aphim Bone Part One [dis­cogs]

Spear of Gold and Ser­aphim Bone Part One

Delect­able dark­ness comes from Ader­lat­ing recently, a pro­ject by Mor­ies of Gnaw Their Tongues and Eric of Mow­lawner. Not sur­pris­ingly, the album mixes dark ambi­ent and drones with obscure black metal out­bursts to cre­ate a dynamic set of com­pos­i­tions. Nat­ur­ally, these styles mix well in cre­at­ing a dark and oppress­ive atmo­sphere with occult under­tones. The pro­por­tion between more and less intense pieces is bal­anced very well, with a good vari­ance between pure abstract sound­scapes, all-out black metal fury, and wild noisy parts with free drums.

All in all an excel­lent album for those par­tic­u­lar moods, and a nice sup­ple­ment to what I’ve already heard from Gnaw Their Tongues. The noisy ritual atmo­sphere on Spear of Gold... should appeal to lov­ers of exper­i­mental black metal and occult drones and ambi­ent alike.

Cubs - The Whis­per­ing Woods [dis­cogs]

The Whis­per­ing Woods

The second Cubs release again fea­tures a long list of fig­ures from Irish and Brit­ish freefolk, col­lab­or­at­ing on a series of mostly instru­mental tracks. Prom­in­ent are lovely (semi-)improvised gui­tar and violin arrange­ments, use of samples and elec­tronic effects, exem­pli­fy­ing the exper­i­mental folk sound of today. On the whole this album is a very pleas­ant, relax­ing listen, par­tic­u­larly tracks like “Fortis Green”, “Hid­den Val­ley” and “Frozen Lake”, altern­at­ing mel­an­cholic and more upbeat moods. Another nice track is “Black­berry Lane”, which also has a decidedly cute video by tinyEPICs.

The Whis­per­ing Woods is not as strong as it per­haps might have been if you look at indi­vidual tal­ent of some of the people involved (Aaron Hur­ley, David Colo­han, Michael Tan­ner, Vicky Lan­gan, James Rider, etc.). Not all tracks are equally cap­tiv­at­ing or involved, and the vocals are a bit lacklustre at times. Nev­er­the­less, this is recom­men­ded listen­ing for every­one with an ear open for exper­i­mental and freefolk, and only the latest of many fine such releases on Rus­ted Rail and Dead­slack­string, who co-released this one.

Demen­tia ad Vitam - De Gaia, le Poison… [MySpace]

De Gaia, le Poison…

French pro­ject Demen­tia ad Vitam focuses on rather heavy kind of neo­clas­sical music the com­bines mostly piano and violin-based melod­ies with at times bom­bastic com­pos­i­tions, and some vocal out­bursts here and there. At the same time, there are quite a few calm moments and gently flow­ing clas­sic­ally-inspired waltzes. Most of the tracks on this album are rel­at­ively short, allow­ing an inter­est­ing spec­trum of dif­fer­ent moods. Some­times, a bit more time is reserved, such as for the acous­tic gui­tar-based “A Présent Si Triste”. The vari­ation between such tracks and the shorter impres­sions is pleas­ant, and makes the album flow quite nicely, even though it is over an hour long.

Musical inspir­a­tion or dis­tant par­al­lels may be found with artists such as Elend, Dar­gaard, and Arcana , though the moods and com­pos­i­tions on this album make Demen­tia ad Vitam stand apart more than enough. Although I must say this album leaves me rel­at­ively untouched emo­tion­ally, the com­pos­i­tions and atmo­spheres on De Gaia… are rich and inter­est­ing, and def­in­itely worth check­ing out for any­one with a soft spot for high-strung and lush neo­clas­sical works.

Szy­mon Kaliski - For Isol­ated Recol­lec­tions [dis­cogs]

For Isol­ated Recol­lec­tions

Young pol­ish ambi­ent artist Szy­mon Kaliski impressed quite a few folks with his release Out of For­get­ting in late 2010. Now he’s back with a second EP on Hibern­ate that deliv­ers more of the same del­ic­ate drones and ambi­ent pieces. Kaliski’s tracks are min­imal, sparse com­pos­i­tions, rely­ing on little glitches, noises and melodic loops. Most of the melod­ies have a piano-like tinge to them, and the gen­eral atmo­sphere of these quar­tet of tracks is that of someone sit­ting at a piano in a dusty room, key­ing out little pieces of memory. There’s some­thing spa­cious and con­tem­plat­ive about it that makes For Isol­ated Recol­lec­tions an extremely pleas­ant and calm­ing listen­ing exper­i­ence.

So far, Kaliski has­n’t greatly astoun­ded me with his music, but little works like this one are sure to find their way into the playl­ist of many ambi­ent lov­ers, and I for one look for­ward to hear­ing more subtle and gentle record­ings like this one. Prom­ising work!