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Ambience on Hypnos: Austere, Lena, Numina, Rigel Orionis

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AUSTERE: Pulse (CD on Hypnos)

This release from 2006 offers 53 minutes of extreme minimalism.

Ephemeral tonalities gather, thickening the air with the illusion of density. In actuality, the ambience is extreme and understated. Misty pulsations surround the listener, wafting delicately along the auditory canals. The intent is sedation, but not the somnambulant kind.

This music is encoded with alpha waves along with subtle bi-aural panning, producing a mood of relaxed concentration intended to facilitate creative activity in the brain.

The structure seems unchanging, but auxiliary textures sneak in over time, craftily altering the flow. Deeper tones rise to slowly overwhelm the nucleus drone, only to be supplanted by other rarefied tones. The illusion of immobility is quite deceptive.

Comprising a single long track, this music possesses a loving dedication to undisturbed serenity. The stimulation achieved by this tuneage could well go unnoticed unless the audience engages in cognition.

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LENA: Alchemy of Fingers and Dark (CD on Hypnos)

This CD from 2007 features 70 minutes of ambient deconstructions of music from Lena's "Extended Gestures for Cello" album.

Lena plays acoustic cello. Taking turns at the demix board are: M. Griffin, Austere, and the Mystifying Oracle.

Cello is as cello does: sawing expressions of terse vibrations usually found at the bottom of classical recitals. Here, however, those dark notes are subjected to contemporary electronic treatments, infusing the drones with unearthly character and spectral verve.

Ghostly passages grip the audience's attention, digging deep into the psyche and opening receptivity to each nuance and trembling oscillation. While already steeped in a moody atmosphere, the processing bestow a bedeviling edge to the cello strains. Tantalizing phantoms are conjured and goaded to wander the mix.

The title track is a 24 minute epic of haunting substance, riddled with ethereal echoes and perilous predilection. At times, the electronics threaten to overwhelm the source material, transforming string expressions into piercingly shrill outcries of alien sound.

The Austere-demixed piece ferments with a vitality that is quite extraterrestrial.

The Mystifying Oracle injects spooky voices to the mix, punctuating the eerie flow with chittering diodes and thumping percussion until the piece swells into an analogy of a techno song.

Compositionally, the basic music is harmonious and minimal. The treatments breathe a haunting mien to those chords, driving the end result far from any concert hall and plunging the pieces into a realm of modern sensibilities.

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NUMINA: Shift to the Ghost (CD on Hypnos)

This release from 2006 features 70 minutes of eerie tuneage.

Numina is Jesse Sola.

Pensive tonalities rise to insinuate a portentous presence into a brooding darkness. It's a tenuous presence, however; one that exhibits little animation, watching with unseen eyes and subtly influencing its immediate environs.

Sighing electronic textures undulate with luxurious determination. Ethereal waves seep across the firmament, occluding silence with a translucent demeanor. A liquid undercurrent aids this vaporous resonance.

Buried in the atmospheric flow are hints of violins and drawn cellos, so deeply immersed that they could well be illusionary sounds. Also lurking in the mix are traces of more demonstrative electronics, but pulsations actually surface to calmly dominate the ambience and generate a savory tension.

An eerie mien permeates these songs, but there's nothing ominous or threatening about these sonic ghosts. They are congenial spirits, conveying wisdom and introspection to the listener.

Sola's predilection for seasoning his pure ambience with softly churning activity imbues this music with a seductive quality. The compositions maintain a resolute dedication to a borderland between minimalism and density, producing tuneage that glimmers with implications as it seethes with gossamer vitality. Harmonic passages are tinged with evocative substance.

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RIGEL ORIONIS: Night Heat (CD on Hypnos)

This CD from 2007 offers 79 minutes of controlled chaos.

Rigel Orionis is Jim Brenholts, who plays loops, found sounds, ocarina, lap harp, acoustic guitar, mountain dulcimer, and various chimes, whistles and samples to achieve quirky soundscapes.

Strange resonances saturate the first track, beleaguered by muffled percussives and quivering noises. Ethereal textures waver and throb while hesitant embellishments punctuate the ambience with a plodding presence.

The second piece combines shakers with gurgling waters and a spectral bearing. Whispers that could be voices (but aren't) filter through the mix, hinting at arctic fairies. A surge of frigid electronics seeps in, ebbs, then experiences a climactic resurgence before harsh tones and wicked bells crash in and command the sonic terrain.

Rattlings and remote chitterings generate a mechanical agitation in the third track. Faint tonalities inspire a tension that gnaws at the edge of the mix.

The final piece spins a web of gravitonic waves that seem to draw in peripheral sounds like a sonic black hole. An overall grind dominates this consumption until finally everything seems to dwindle down a cosmic rabbit hole.

Generally more atonal than harmonic, these compositions exemplify seductive experiments with sound construction. decorative rule

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