Friday, 23 October 2015

Dark Music Review – Absence of Motion

Dark Music Review – Absence of Motion

Review Written By Casey Douglass


Album blurb: Alphaxone is back with his third album on Cryo Chamber, a truly moving experience with smooth reverbs, multi-layered ambience and intricate subtle compositions. Alphaxone sets a new bar for himself when it comes to production quality, recommended for spacefaring audiophiles.

It didn't take much listening to Alphaxone's Absence of Motion before I came to see the title as a little inaccurate; the soundscapes and compositions therein seemed to me to carry a great amount of motion, subjectively at least. Never one to let titles or track labels get in my way however, I let my own dark narrative form from track to track, embarking once more on yet another dark ambient safari.

The Tracks

Intro – Bird song and what sounds like falling rocks, accompanied by a hanging airy drone and distortion get the album off to an interesting start. The various sounds gave me the impression of what it might be like to walk into a hidden valley somewhere in a mountainous region, the sounds of footsteps aiding this impression magnificently. It seems however, that it is a valley that is as much aware of the listener as the listener is of it.

Appearance – An insectoid vibration joined by muted thumps, whistlings and skitterings as the listener espies the denizens of the valley for the first time, strange and fleeting in the mist.

Long Eternity – Digital artifacts, much like those seen in badly error-corrected video, flicker in dark caves that loom in the distance, a deep drone and tinkling chimes energising the air with strange notes. This track has a melancholy tint, and the tonal quality seems to change near the midpoint.

Space Continuum – Crickets and whistling are joined by effects that sound a little like wind, all hinting at a vast space within the cavern system that lies beyond that cave. A resonant tone sounds near the midpoint, flutish in sound, creating the impression of space shifting, like the glinting sun picking out the edges of some strange spacecraft in an area that had otherwise looked empty.

Dark Geometry – A dark drone with distant rasping sounds. A blending of the soundscape that gives a prolonged “Ohm” effect. The spacecraft sits in deepest black, all strange energies and angles. Notes give the impression of it beginning to come alive with lights.

Celestial – Wind chimes and another fluty sound meet with a thrumming noise. A high-pitched ringing like that of a finger run around a crystal glass joins, all creating the impression of activation or initiation.

Inner Horizon – A water/static sound is accompanied by footsteps and chittering birds. The spacecraft blinks out of existence and now you find yourself in a strange alien desert, a looming drone and strange noises your reward.

X-Land – A vibrating bass and rattling rhythm meets more digital/electronic sounds as the listener meets the natives of this new and strange location.

Close – A bass tone switches between each ear as rippling ruffles buffet the listener. You are led to a strange and wonderful tent, therein bid to lay down, the sound of strange breezes toying with the canvas lulling you to sleep amidst a pleasing drone.

Thoughts

Absence of Motion is a dark ambient album that revels in creating an absorbing sense of space and location, the various drones, chimes and ambient sounds painting the soundscape in some very alluring dark colours. The tracks are tinted with the taste of the alien, the exotic, and also the familiar in the sense of the few sounds that seem familiar, such as birdsong and wind chimes. However you look at it (or should that be listen), Absence of Motion certainly takes the listener on a mental adventure, no matter what the nature of the images conjured in the imagination might be. This, for me, is something that I prize highly above anything else and I am happy to find another dark ambient album that achieves this so fully. It's with this in mind that I give Absence of Motion 4.5/5.

It is also at this late stage that I realise that the title, Absence of Motion, might just as easily refer to how little movement the listener will make while relaxing and drifting off to this musical creation.

Visit the Absence of Motion page on bandcamp here for more information and prices.


I was given a free copy of the album to review.

Album Title: Absence of Motion
Written and Produced: Mehdi Saleh
Label: Cryo Chamber
Mastering and artwork: Simon Heath
Release Date: 25 August 2015


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