Friday 11 March 2016

Dark Music Review – Echoes from Outer Silence

Dark Music Review – Echoes from Outer Silence

Review Written By Casey Douglass

Echoes from Outer Silence CD Art

Cryo Chamber welcomes Iranian Mehdi Saleh from Alphaxone back with his 4th album on the label. A space voyage ambient album of drone mixed with electronic overtones and a healthy dose of field recordings.
Echoes from Outer Silence take us through space and to the archaic signals of civilizations beyond the stars, Mehdi this time packing some serious analogue warmth to his droney dreamscapes.

He once again polishes up his already splendid sound quality and excellent production to reach new heights. This is an album best enjoyed when relaxing with a cup of freeze dried coffee in zero G.

Listeners to Alphaxone’s Echoes from Outer Silence can expect a dark ambient album that is, for the most part, a gentle and smooth listen with sounds that ebb and flow in a relaxing way but interspersed with harsher electronic and metallic noises. As the album description above also states, there is a good amount of field recorded sounds too, from birdsong to the more static-based noise of wind and rain. It is with this latter point in mind that I found myself gravitating more towards those tracks that make more use of these sounds.

“Outfield” is the first track of the album and begins with the rumblings of a distorted storm, the sounds of sliding movements and fabric-like undulations seeming to rotate from ear to ear. It conjured to mind an image of some abandoned space dock, the denizens in the nearest bar or strip joint waiting out the rain. The fabric sound also had an ASMR like quality so may trigger this response in some listeners, although it didn’t do much for me sadly.

A track that takes a different tack is “Sphere of Change”. This track begins with high hanging notes, a gentle buzzing sound and a light drone, the buzzing distortion becoming longer lasting as the drone builds. Delicate ticking noises bounce and echo from ear to ear before a range of field recordings come and go: bird song, whispers, water and other sounds like brushing noises. The variety is interesting and the way they all seem to dove-tail and not be jarring is a pleasing thing to reflect on. This track put me in mind of an artificial intelligence, possibly medical or therapeutic, sorting through its memory banks.

Another track that I particularly liked was “Altered Xone”, a track that begins with the whining sound of a radio scanning between stations, the female sigh and snatches of voices found soon fading into warbling notes that echo out into the darkness. I particularly liked that some of the more electrical sounds seemed to take on the aspect of an old dial-up modem handshaking, a sound that I’d not heard for a long long time.

Echoes from Outer Silence is a fine, space-infused dark ambient album that seems to take the listener to the moments between events in the cosmos: the space-port before the activity begins, the contemplative field recordings in a medical AI program arranging them for its next patient. It is the calm before the storm, the big breath before the plunge, the gathering of strength before the final push. Sometimes, that’s what we want from our music, the space to reflect and to take stock. I give Echoes from Outer Silence 4/5, an album that sits nicely between more brash and more minimal dark ambient creations.

Check out Echoes from Outer Silence on bandcamp at this link.

You can listen to “Altered Xone” below:

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

Album Title: Echoes from Outer Silence
Artist: Alphaxone
Label : Cryo Chamber
Released: February 23, 2016