Sunday, January 22, 2012

Adrian Aniol - It All Falls Apart (2011) [Utech Records]

To be honest, I've heard a lot of "dark ambient," and it's a genre that really tends toward the mediocre and the nondescript. It can still be nice, but it's not impressive. Worse yet, half of it sounds like half-assed sound design from a computer RPG. Adrian Aniol's on top of the game here, though.

It All Falls Apart has all the important hallmarks of a fairly traditional dark ambient record. It's huge, amorphous, and threatening, like a nightmare you can't explain that leaves you shaken half the day. While there's a feeling of pitch, it partakes more of Ligeti's pitch-saturated sound masses than anything like melody or harmony.

And just when that, wrapped around disconnected rhythms and waves of intensity, becomes grey, Aniol moves to the piano and begins to evoke.

It All Falls Apart doesn't quite escape being dark ambient, but it does a fine job of expanding the horizons and nailing the atmosphere.

Then (at the risk of fawning), Steven Hess comes along. Side B of It All Falls Apart is a Steven Hess remix. So what, you say, anyone with a name can throw together a quick rearrangement on a laptop and make some cash. Sure, and most of them do a fucking fine job too. Hess, however, opted for the tape machine.

The tape machine.

We might have to do an entire interview based on that sole fact. The sheer amount of time, work, and potential for complete fuckup of doing a remix with pieces of tape is a perfect reminder of why there weren't five hundred records of inept loners every day until everyone could do everything on a home PC.

I'd also like to add that Hess takes the material and makes a completely different track with all of the same atmosphere intact and still engaging. Each half of this tape could stand on its own, and I'd buy it. Seven bucks for two great releases, just go do it. Go.


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