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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Aquavoice - "Nocturne"

Artist: Aquavoice
Album: Nocturne
Year: 2014
Label: Zoharum
Genre: Ambient
Website: zoharum.com/

Nocturne is the second release on Zoharum for ambient act Aquavoice. I've not heard of this project before, so I don't know much more than that. According to the press release, this album is more focused on ambient while the previous one was more experimental.

Nocturne gets off to an awkward start; the first track is nearly unlistenable due to this overly loud high pitched drone that continues throughout the entire song. It sounds like there is some nice content in there but the high buzz completely ruins it. Thankfully, this only occurs in the opener and the rest of the album is quite pleasant. The album is comprised of various strange sounds, field recordings, hazy melodies, and bits of sampled speech that form dream-y ambient soundscapes. There are also some glitchy fragments a la Oval or Monstrare (Cordell Klier) which can seem a bit out of place, but generally work to add something of a strangeness and unpredictability that makes the pieces more interesting. The bulk of the tracks make me feel as if I am sitting at the edge of a lake in a futuristic city that has gone to sleep. They purvey extremely subtle moods, although when you listen deeply you will hear that there are quite a few elements in play within each track. These elements work together beautifully to conjure strong icy / lonely maritime visions for the listener. I get a strong Biosphere - Substrata vibe. My favorite track is "Sleep Well" which combines the aforementioned cold, edge of the water atmosphere with a subdued kick and strings dripping with sadness to create a highly poignant piece.

This album is like Mille Plateaux and/or Rastor Noton mixed with Glacial Movements; less cut'n'click and more quiet atmospherics by way of sound art. Definitely something to check out for fans of cold, pensive, minimal soundscapes (but don't mistake that for boring drone). Though not unique, Nocturne is minimal ambient done right.

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