ompiled into three tracks, recorded in three separate countries and by several musicians with ties to both the Finnish electronic and metal underground—including Anti Haappapuro (Dolorian, Aeoga, Halo Manash) and Jussi Saivo (F, Tiermes)—Aural Holograms begins its auspicious triangular engagement in dented, imperfect tones, inky trails, and shrieks of uncertain materials directed toward a frightful communion of sound and perception.
Nebulous in purpose and, like all ambient music, completed by our reception, Holograms is the first entry of a planned series based on primitive call and response patterns released by Haapapuro's Aural Hypnox label, home to an increasingly strange assortment of musicians native to the land of a thousand lakes. This latest attempt at creating an almost visible edifice of sound, one sustained by frequency and furtive voices, is no less effective while conforming to some and replacing other "experimental" clichés in a suspenseful, delicately contrived curse; night music heralded by a night-hag with claws rotating into solar symbols. Rare, however, is the entrance of light into the music's projected shroud and foggy dimensions.
Bodies remain unseen, but not un-sensed through these ambiguous and long unbroken orchestrations of drone—a non-verbal meditation flowing more like a film score than a distorted free-for-all. Its trident initiation, recorded months, even years apart in Guatemala (1992), the Czech Republic (1992), and Finnmark (2002) and named with strange, New Testament-style adumbrations like "Before the Great Stone" and "The Day of Opening the Tomb," occupies a space between Lustmord's Black Star and Wendy Carlos' contributions to Kubrick's The Shining, often feeling conducted rather than collected under the label's signature theme.
The sound itself is ritual, an intersection of dreams drawn along Eastern lines, especially entranced with those formulas of bone and mineral found in the ceremonial music of Tibetan Buddhism. That stringless, atonal phrasing, surrounded by the enduring clamor of drum and bell (teased in the press material only as unspecified artifacts "crafted according to the methods of traditional metallurgia") is here endued with gutting low-end that levels concentration. Thoughts soon focus in on nervous, vagrant tones of the reed organ, blaring beside other scattered miscellanea; their secret origin is a shared interpretation of signals that fret with an icy resonance, notes dropped like wishing stones into a black, murmuring void; the blankness becoming a boggy glade, clandestine voices disturbed by ringing shards of fractal, moon-lit dissonance spread with air trails overhead and afterwards a sound like rotten teeth and dry chattering jaw from a corpse below.
Taped rotations circle en route to Holograms’ taxing 40 minute coda, "Beyond the Black Deep," a magnificent if overdrawn dispensation of ebb and flow minimalism directed by the single chime of a bell, then answered in radial sequences blown and struck from the source as if being formed out of burning hot glass. The previous hour's weighted plunge into anxiety and nyctophobia now rises back to these soft hues of awe and wonder. A skull that becomes a jewel lodged in their crown, beheld with eyes open or closed.
Reviewed by: Todd Depalma
Reviewed on: 2007-08-02