Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Read review at Morpheus

Deeply chilled ambient electronic soundscapes. This latest compilation from the excellent Aleph Zero label pulls together some of the most cutting edge sounds in the world of drifting, glitch infested downtempo currently advancing over the horizon. The music ranges from intensely beautiful and dreamy to somewhat disconcerting and alien. Ovnimoon contribute a gorgeous track called Cajita De Sorpresas where buoyant hazy pads support a lustrous, fluid lead against an insectile, intricate beat. An interesting collaboration from Omnimotion and I Awake entitled Rebooting Daisy maintains the blissful, hypnotic floatational approach with a slightly dislocated groove lumbering aside sensuous female vocal layers and some delicately sparse melodic touches. Vataff Project's Owl is an example of the more disconcerting nature of darkness - a scratchy percussive track with a sequence of uneasy drones and sci-fi mechanisms. The album winds down with Shulman's One Step Closer; here remixed by Eitan Reiter and DJ Shahar. Maintaining the spacey vibe of the previous piece, this broad composition introduces a reverberating sax that luxuriates in the groove driven expanse before dropping away into a beatless pool of shifting synthetic currents. The concluding track is from Minilogue Feat. Inid Imman: a ponderous, gently thudding form with guitar manipulations and ample surface damage - light whispers and minimal melody - mesmerising light-headeness - heartbeat pump - fade to black.

Dark Room Beats is an album full of brooding low-light atmosphere where periodic surges of warmth course through the night shadows and luminous colours twinkle and glow. The name is well chosen - this is certainly one for enjoying with a good sound system in a darkened room - or maybe for creating your own relaxing, dusky mindscape elsewhere during your day. Full of feeling, with an unhurried approach and ample room given over to building up mood and ambience.

In keeping with the theme, artwork for Dark Room Beats is resolutely black across every panel. The front cover holds a simple image of a glowing lamp, yellow-orange and warm upon an infinite darkness. Flipping over, a tracklist is on the rear, set alongside a duplicate of the lamp. Turning to the insert, this opens out into three panels with a second tracklist on the outer first, simple logo on the central. Inside there is a section given over to thanks, a second with a more graphic representation of the familiar lamp form, contact details below, the third section presents an expanded tracklist, this time with writing credits and some additional performance information.

Aleph Zero compilations are always something of a delight. This one took three years of meticulous work to "design the room's sonic surroundings". The label is clearly intent on setting the standard for others to follow with this collection, Shahar and Shulman having selected thirteen pieces of visionary ambient glitch-chill that are of amazing quality and gratifying consonance. A number of Aleph Zero favourites are of course here: Shulman, Hibernation, Omnimotion, Vataff Project and Krusseldorf. Label head DJ Shahar brings his talent to bear in sharing with Eitan Reiter to remix the Shulman track One Step Closer. Other artists include Altair, Phasephour, Ovnimoon, I Awake, Good Rester, Alexander Daf, Aligning Minds and Minilogue Feat. Inid Imman. Robert Rich provides another highlight with Moth Wings: a lush, coruscating piece of sonic chiaroscuro featuring a meandering, sonorous flute.
Promotional material suggests "Come relaxed and open minded, turn off the lights, and let us take you somewhere else without ever leaving your room." Why not explore the eflier and see if you'd like to take up the invitation.

Dark Room Beats will appeal to downtempo fans that enjoy the more ambient side of the genre. This is a high quality release that the more discerning listener will appreciate. Aleph Zero and Ultimae seem to excel in this type of lush, glitchy chillout.


No comments: