Friday 23 July 2021

Dark Ambient Review: Aerography, Vol. I

Dark Ambient Review: Aerography, Vol.I

Review By Casey Douglass

Aerography, Vol. I

Mars is an enigmatic planet, one that looms large in the mind of anyone thinking about how humanity can become an interplanetary species. For a seemingly barren planet, it isn’t half beautiful to look at, knowing how remote it is from us. Aerography, Vol. I is a dark ambient album from composer Rodolfo Pitti, an album themed around Mars and a doomed astronaut mission to its surface. Some of the sounds that are used to achieve this are swirling tones, pulsing bass and electronic soundscapes that seem infused with the triumphant impression of “We are here!” even if things are going very badly for the fictional astronauts.

My favourite track is The Uninhabitable Caves of Mars. It begins with a low drone, one that is soon joined by a kind of rising and falling “spaceship flying over” sound. It feels like a cascade of pressure, with low hisses and barks possibly being the sound of ghost’s voices; maybe the beings who first lived on Mars millions of years ago. High gentle beeps emerge from the swirl, echoing rushing sounds feeling like there is movement where nothing can be seen. A dark, creeping sci-fi track.

Valles Marineris Reconnaissance Drone is another track that I enjoyed, as it is another track that had its own kind of darkness. This track opens with a rising and ominous bass melody, one that almost blares like a sinister horn. It feels like it edges into the kind of heavy you might hear in a heavy metal track; snarling electric guitar and fuzz. There is a roughness to the other tones, and flurries of sound at the edges. I got the mental image of a drone skimming the Martian landscape, each swell of the soundscape revealing the next valley or dried up ocean. The track feels a little lighter after the midpoint, but on the whole, another dark track.

Finally, Our Hearts Yearn For Something Mars Can't Supply is a track that appealed to me for different reasons. Whereas the previously mentioned tracks were dark, this one felt light, but in a strange way. After a delicate start, the soundscape feels like it spins up into a shimmering space of dancing high tones and airy “fluttering”. This combination gave me the mental image of a ball of golden light with strange mechanical red moths flitting around its surface. It felt like something flying in sunlight to me at the least. A sad track, but also a nice one.

Aerography, Vol. I is an album that creates the feeling of vast vistas on an unforgiving planet. There is a sci-fi aesthetic that underpins everything, and as I said in the first paragraph, a kind of triumphant, even celebratory feeling that seems to emerge in each track. I like this mixture of triumph and doom. It feels like the audio equivalent of someone trying really hard to teleport somewhere using only the power of their mind, achieving it, being ecstatic, and then realising that they are falling from the sky a split second later.

Visit the Aerography, Vol. I page on Bandcamp for more information.

Album Title: Aerography, Vol. I

Album Artist: Rodolfo Pitti

Released: 10 July 2021