Having established himself over several decades as a pioneer of dark ambience, vidnaObmana now strikes off to conquer new sonic genres with his mastery of haunting soundscapes.
VIDNAOBMANA: The River of Appearance (a double CD on Projekt)
This release from 2006 features a reissue of the original 59 minute release from 1996 and a 55 minute re-creation from 2001 by Dreams in Exile.
VidnaObmana utilized the following instruments in creating the original recording: electronics, loops, five rainsticks in different tunings, shells, claypot, click sticks, maracas, waterbottles, Bolivian flutes, bamboo flute, ocarina, and harmonica.
Delicate airs are generated with loving care, then flavored with ethereal elements of resonance and soft percussion. The electronics flow like gaseous masses, unbound and expansive. These atmospheric currents sigh and emanate with deliberate measure, washing away tension with each subsequent oscillation. The breathy trilling of flutes enhances the otherwordliness of the ambience, bestowing organic layers to the synthetic flow.
The infrequent presence of muted percussives injects a lazy locomotion that introduces a swaying rhythm to the floating mass of sound.
The manner in which these sluggish soundscapes achieve an integral presence is quite remarkable. While remaining insubstantial and existing primarily on the periphery of one's attention, they nevertheless establish a viable proximity that superimposes itself on the material world, merging spirit and matter in a divine fashion.
While minimal in structure, these compositions achieve a ghostly density that defies codification. Sonic mass is accomplished through attenuated compression. The result is an acute state of sedation, pleasant and unintrusive, while retaining a manifest hold on the subconscious.
Dreams in Exile is: Corey Pressman and Kirk Kristlibas (on acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, vocals, and percussion). Joining them on this re-creation are: Steve Sundholm (on trombone, vocals, water glass, and percussion), Renee Rathmann (on trumpet and french horn), Laura Frizell (on piano), Michele Renay (on vocals), Purscelly (on cello), and a children's choir comprised of Claire Stewart, Meg Dickey-Griffin, and Sheridan Stevens.
Here, strings replace much of the cloudlike resonance in vidnaObmana's version. Serenely strummed chords unfurl to hang like shimmering layers of mist, punctuated by auxiliary guitar notes that sparkle like a starscape peering down from on high. Instances of electric guitar burn with piercing tenor amid the ambience. The electronic sky becomes a sighing vista of choral waves, non-lyrical voices approximating the drifting flow. Cello drones waft with graceful ripples. Environmental samples provide an earthy presence, grounding the aerial comportment of the music. The horns blare from a great distance, achieving a spectral demeanor that seasons the melodies with a melancholic essence.
Percussion is light, remote and sparse, contributing a shuddery presence more so than tempos.
The conversion of vidnaObmana's ethereal ambience to a classical mien is a remarkable transition, one that creates a whole new sonic mood that is equally serene but possesses a unique vitality. The end result is a creature that stands on its own, evocative and engagingly thrilling.
VIDNAOBMANA & ALIO DIE: Echo Passage (CD on Projekt)
This CD from 2006 features a reissue of the 69 minute release from 1999 of distinctly subterranean ambience.
The three tracks of this collaboration are unified into one long piece, blending the soothing compositions into a single soundscape.
Ethereal textures flow in tandem with sighing woodwinds and clattering raindrops, streaming through dark tunnels that provide eerie resonance to the ambient sounds. Electronic drones waft through the mix, evoking remote landscapes of mysterious deportment. These tonal clouds breathe ponderous movement into the harmonic river, generating tepid waves that ripple through the gaseous substance and produce a gradual series of hills and valleys in the sonic terrain. Keyboard sustains emerge from the fog to reign for a stretch that leads to stronger density as growling textures intermingle with harsher ambience. After a brief rise to power, this dark ambience gives way to a passage of sawing noises and heavenly keys laced with pastoral environmental samples. A muted thumping announces the advent of a warming dawn, and the soundscape pulsates into a radiant coda of definition and clarity.
While never achieving a melodic presence, the tuneage is replete with harmonic vitality that superbly captivates with its haunting serenity.
FEAR FALLS BURNING: I'm One of Those Monsters Numb with Grace (vinyl album on Equation Records)
This release from 2006 features 40 minutes of spooky guitar experimentation.
Fear Falls Burning is actually vidnaObmana. Under this persona, he expresses his sonic stylings with treated guitar.
Each side of this gray-vinyl album features a twenty minute track (respectively "I'm One of those Monsters" and "Numb with Grace").
On side 1: guitar chords are generated, deeply guttural and growling with subterranean power. While the notes are repeated, creating a desperate cycle of shuddering metal spines, textures of haunting demeanor coalesce as a nocturnal backdrop. Rising from the mists of this backdrop are auxiliary tonalities, each derived from treatments of the main guitar chord and flavoring the gestalt with even eerier atmospherics. As the piece progresses, the apparent constancy slowly grows darker, more dire as the atmospherics accrete stronger substantiality until they stand nearly at equal volume with the tune's guitar nucleus and ultimately replace that core with their own resonance.
On side 2, the guitar adopts a swaying sustain that starts out soft and muted, but gradually becomes peppered by additional notes that penetrate from the sidelines not unlike needles cunningly slid into the mix. These needles commence vibrating, swelling to rival the central tones in verve. Again, a backdrop of ethereal density unfurls to tenuously support the gracefully intertwining guitar effects. Before long, the guitar treatments have mutated into a fusion of fresh homeopathy that pulsates with almost divine proportion. These new-born threads begin to separate, dividing into a chorus of grinding effects that become swept away in an emergence of piercing tones that sneakily rise to tranquil domination.
The style of this music is one that blends experimentation with an expert grasp of moody soundscapes, resulting in a dark (almost gothic) tuneage designed to sedate the forebrain as it agitates the subconscious.
Imagine guitar experimentation from the dark side, evoking sentiments from a drowned cathedral.
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