Review: Aristidis K. – Zero Point

Label: Webbed Hand
Catalog No: wh191

The world has collapsed into a single point. All known life has vanished. The only thing that remains is a guitar creaking the faint light of hope back into existence.

Aristidis K. has turned a dark corner on Zero Point. Subhuman effects rumble alongside the dreamy atmosphere creating a bittersweet sensation. The songs are simple and modest, leaving your mind to wander amongst the tones. The mild experimentation flutters on the side, only making its presence known when the need arises. Static and guitar warbles fog up the room, making you feel like the only soul to survive the apocalypse.

The sounds were crafted for that one person who somehow manages to live after the demise of Earth. You get the feeling that you are that one lucky human allowed to stay on this plane. As you float aimlessly the vast mists of time and space, this soundtrack plays. It echoes off the stars themselves and wraps you up safely, protected by the spirits of the universe.

Rating: 3.5 stars
Standout track: 4:37 AM


Review: Mystified – Overtone Drones

Label: Webbed Hand
Catalog No: wh204

Mystified’s prolific catalog has featured a variety of genres. All of them have had his own unique twist that pushes the boundaries of each genre. Lately he has taken to evolving the genre of Drone. His most recent series, Bone Drones, were comprised entirely from trombone sounds. Overtone Drones is a continuation of such single instrument experimentation, this time with a wooden overtone flute. A flute naturally creates wavering drones but when long notes are held and layered on top of each other, they create a harrowing beauty that few instruments can match.

The drones your ears discover in this release take you to a chilling atmosphere, overwhelmed with frigid shadows and stoic waters. The ambiance of such a location stirs a very miniscule amount of fear. The sensation makes your hair stand on end with each rippling sound wave. Your whole psyche begins to sway back and forth with the synchronized wind. Submersion into such primal emotions does not happen as the flute acts like a guide through this strange uncharted land. The fear and alarm resides in the back of your mind as an unfamiliar but very soothing tranquility wraps around you.

Like many Mystified releases, Overtone Drones makes you explore strange emotions in a controlled environment. Everything feels new and startling but very welcoming. Gates of unknown perception have been opened for us to explore safely without fear of being lost forever. By listening you are exposed to greater depths of the mind and soul and then you are sent back to reality to share the knowledge with the known world.

Standout Track: Overtone Drone 5
Rating: 4 stars

Review: Uitgezonderd – Stervend Stil Leven

Label: Webbed Hand
Catalog No: wh178

A simple piano can play beautifully amongst a dark backdrop. It can pierce through ominous drones and soothe your heart’s anguish. It provides an escape, an emergency exit out the back where you can leave the terrors of today’s world behind and find something much more expedient. Hope may seem superfluous these days but those of us who know better still cling to that raft in this tumultuous sea, waiting to see what lies beyond the next tidal wave.

Belgium’s Uitgezonderd has presented us with nine tracks of sublime melancholia meant to inspire each of us to find happiness. The title Stervend Stil Leven is Dutch for Die Quiet Life. As creatures of nature, we are more than just entities of built up carbon suffering from a series of chance events. Our purpose of existing is to make the world a wonderful haven for our chromosomal brothers and sisters. We were not put on this planet to own vast quantities of land or money. The concept of ownership does not exist in our hearts. Everything laid before us on this sphere of cooling rock is here for all to enjoy.

In order to make seismic changes in our current backwards societies, we need to lead more exciting lives. We must do more astonishing things so that we all can thrive and reap the benefits that nature has given to us. There is too much overindulgence by a select few and it is costing a hefty price. The modern thought of privilege is very skewed. Everyone alive today has been privileged with a chance to live. We need to utilize those privileges and live our lives to their fullest possible extent. Only then will our souls be satisfied.

Simple piano compositions are layered with basic rhythms. The mantra of less is more is fully demonstrated here. Uitgezonderd created a portal for our minds to regroup in order to understand why we suffer and how we can turn our quiet lives around and make the world smile with exalted delight.

Standout track: Rugosa
Rating: 5 stars

Review: Subterrestrial – Nature Is Infinite

Label: Webbed Hand
Catalog No: wh177

Nature. The material world. The sum total of the forces at work throughout the universe. Nature has a hand in everything that happens on this plane of existence. Everything you have ever seen, heard and experienced and everything going on inside of you at this very moment. Thanks to nature, you are able to read this review right now. Every atom currently in existence in the universe owes a serious debt to nature.

Subterrestrial’s homage to nature goes beyond what most of us think of when we hear that word. Nature is more than the sunset reflecting off a still pond. It is everything. The intricacies that are found in every square millimeter of this planet could not be if the forces that be toiled for eons. It has been at work since the dawn of time and will continue to work well after you and I have faded from existence and the keyboard I am typing on decays into its natural state. Nature truly is infinite. Some might even say that nature is God, if you believe in that sort of thing. They would be correct. If you want to be closer to God, worship nature.

Six organic soundscapes waft about in the space between your ears. The cascades of sound numb your outer senses and give you an idea of what is going on inside. Your heartbeat becomes the only clock you need to follow. You can feel the blood racing through your veins, the flashes of lightning in your brain, the trillions of movements from your nerve endings. You can begin to get a sense of your connection to the rest of the universe. A tiny window opens as you slowly start to understand that we are all a part of nature. We are all one, part of the ever-turning wheel that makes up our existence.

Standout track: The Lava Tube
Rating: 4 stars

Review: Mystified & The Ghost Between the Strings – Ghostbone

Label: Webbed Hand
Catalog No: wh174

Drone. Pure untarnished drone. The sheer density of this album blocks out the possibility of any other sounds emerging through its sine waves. You sink into a lush mire of beautiful sound. It envelopes you from head to toe, gently rocking your ears into a subconscious state. A darkness sweeps in that eradicates your fears and puts your mind at rest. It is quite difficult to make dark and ominous sounds beautiful but these two have done it.

Mystified, the genre-bending multi-instrumentalist has paired up with dark ambient’s own The Ghost Between the Strings to create an extremely refined vision of our supernatural world. Hums and chimes glide in and out as drones pile on top of each other. Agitation is soothed and rage is melted. The constant murmuring is enough to make anyone slightly uneasy. To get past these feelings one must dive deep into the sounds and find a comfortable spot to watch the spectacle unfold.

This collaboration is one of the best I have heard in a long time. Both artists forged their strong points into this and the result is a pinnacle for dark ambient music. The only obstacle is one faced by all drone and dark ambient acts – monotony. Though these sounds are gorgeous and unique, by the time you reach the end it feels like one long drone track. This monotonous cycle doesn’t take a lot away from the music itself. It is still a fantastic listen and highly recommended for anyone wanting to escape the noise inside their own head.

Standout track: Frigid Elevation
Rating: 4.5 stars

Review: Wishcollapse – Volume 2

Label: Webbed Hand
Catalog No: wh160

There are many aspects to the making of good music. Two of them are talent and skill. You have to be good at and you have to know what you’re doing. Wishcollapse have a lot of both. This album was constructed with such technical grace that I bow before the gods whose almighty powers forged such beautiful and breath-taking sounds.

Volume 2 is an atmospheric masterpiece with magnificent ambient compositions that left me speechless and brought tears to my eyes. There isn’t much I can say. Listen to it. It’s like you are standing on top of a waterfall, staring across fields and valleys. Above you the sky opens up and the constellations rain stars of bliss upon you. That’s the best thing I could come up with to define it. You need to experience it for yourself. The feeling you get is something that is very hard to describe in this limited language.

Standout track: Opera incompiuta
Rating 5 stars

Review: mayfairgrin – This Delicate Confusion

Label: Webbed Hand Records
Catalog No: wh151

Behold, the fine line between ambient and industrial. This is such an unfamiliar line to most people that they easily walk right over it, kicking it into the gutter without a realization. Those looking for it know where to find it – lodged in a submarine several miles in the air, where the static remains in the shadows, lurking, ready to emerge at the right time. The static is not alarmed by the industrial beats jostling the background image. It rides the ambient swell over the clouds only to glide back down to Earth with a smile on its face.

mayfairgrin go on a journey of abstruse landscapes and they tell their story through interpretive electronic dances and underwater daydreams. They start off with a sonic odyssey located deep within a computer’s walls which slowly slides into trances and meditative states. After 20 minutes, your guide finally greets you and takes you to a spiritual electro-dance. The urge to close your eyes and fall into the recesses of the mind is hard to fight. This journey seems to get lost in its own maze at times, as its sonic interpretations of a myriad of genres start going around in circles.

Andrew Latham and company have certainly made staying up to watch the sunrise a new pastime. This Delicate Confusion is like being in the back room of a club with the door shut tight and only your sweeping subconscious can find the right sounds to go with the beats that seem to find their way through the walls.

Standout track: Delicate
Rating: 4 stars