I have been extremely fortunate to have crossed paths with a number of truly excellent ambient albums in the last few weeks… with the majority of them originating from John Koch-Northrup’s Relaxed Machinery netlabel.
Maybe it’s the time of year… the cold and damp… the lack of sun… the desire to hibernate, preferably in front of an open fire with a good book… that has made these releases all the more appealing. Or maybe it’s just because they are so strong and Koch-Northrup’s quality control is particularly well attuned. I think it’s both… with the case in point being “Euterpe” by Austere.
This is a strong collection of ambient soundscapes… made even stronger by collaborations on four out of the eight tracks.
The first track – “Polyhymnia” – features the most delightful ethereal vocals from Christina Carter… vocals that remind me of Lisa Gerard from Dead Can Dance. The track slowly expounds these vocals… creating an ebb and flow… an interplay of sound and echo which is a delight to listen to.
The third track – “Wadan” – features field recordings by the mystifying oracle. This track is simply awash with sound… it is a wall-of-sound that overtakes the listener and envelopes them in a sense of the otherworldly. Again there is an ebb and flow of sound… which becomes remarkably hypnotic.
The fifth track – “Totonality” – features guitar from Freq. Magnet. Once more the ebb and flow of the track is noticeably present… along with scattered and disparate vocal samples which chatter just beyond comprehension. This is one of two tracks on this release that come in at over 16 minutes long (all the rest are under 8 minutes). The track benefits from this space… building a wall-of-sound in this time.
The seventh track – “Betroven” – features flute by R. Johnson and Glurp. The characteristic ebb and flow is there and it provides a foundation for wonderful ethereal flute melodies… which float in and out of the listener’s perception. This track is really quite delightful… a blissful yet subtle somascape.
The other individual tracks are similarly delightful in their own ways. I was particularly taken with “Sunshone”, the fourth track, because it reminds me of the film “Legend”. It has that magical, otherworldly quality about it… it has the sparkle of sunrise about it that is most enjoyable.
I could talk about the other tracks but, to be honest, I would prefer you listened to this album for yourself… allow yourself to bathe in the sounds… soak them in as you immerse yourself in their frequencies.