SEA 21 | Paradin | [Flesh Of Caverns]
"Flesh of Caverns" is a post-acoustic-geologic--
mysterious rumble, gurgle, moan and quiver of the
sea's mineral rich strata--the ghostly music deep
inside the caverns' ancient flesh.-
- Ben Fleury-Steiner, January 2005
Mercury of the wise men is a watery element cold
and moist. This is their Permanent Water, the spirit
of the body, the unctuous vapour, the blessed water,
the virtuous water. . . Out of this Mercury alone all
the virtue of the Art is extracted . . ."
Thomas Vaughan, 'Coelum Terrae' (1650)
(aka Paradin) is a voluble sound weaver from the States
who marks his debut as Paradin with this release...
His earlier releases ("...To Reach The Other Shore" &
"Chroma") available on his own GEARS OF SAND label both received
critical acclaim in the ambient-electronica press... while his latest
work of experimental guitar on DISSONANCE ("Back Alleys, Open Vistas,
And Other Disintegrations") clearly showed his polyvalence &
proficiency in creating varied immersive soundtracks...
"Flesh Of Caverns" though is a much more
darker organic exploration...
Deep withing damp walls, an inner map breathes,
an enveloping net of veinings & stria,
a mesh of buried rumblings & geologic oozings...
a sea of scintillations, bioluminescent pulses & archaic signals...
"Flesh Of Caverns" exhales long enclosed
interpreting scars & grooves of dripping stones
in analogous aural forms...
Following the inescapable streaming,
the drift of mineral debris & sedimental erosion,
we then dissolve in a world of penumbra & glimmers,
secrets & unspoken,
confronting an unknown founder source...
Undersea Excavation : A Cloud Of Manganese Dust >
+ listen !
02. Sediment Subterrane : A Carbon Flux >
+ listen !
03. Deep Sea Soil Dredging : A Calcareous Ooze
4 stars out of 5
has a nice series of releases under his belt, most of them on his own
Gears of Sand label (which has recently released works by Oophoi and
Netherworld as well). This cdr on Mystery Sea, a label Fleury-Steiner
has been a long-time and enthusiastic supporter of, marks his debut
with the Paradin alias, and the shift has a logical
reason in the music it features. While using as a starting point some
of the sources (effected guitars and synths) and techniques of the previous
releases, "Flesh of Caverns" generally wanders
into darker and even more abstract atmospheres. The drones are reduced
to minimal glassy frequencies, but the skillfull job at layering and
mixing prevents them from becoming too static. The three lengthy tracks
rather embody the typical Mystery Sea kind of ambient music, with slowly
(geologically slowly, I'd say) unfolding, but always immersive soundscapes.
Particles of more recognizable sounds (as the electronic pulses in the
first track, or the aggressive synth hammering at the end of the last
one) are recognizable here and there, but they rapidly vanish underwater,
into the oceanic whole. The title is definitely appropriate as well,
evoking a fusion of organic and mineral qualities which could well define
these three immersions. As Fleury-Steiner's forthcoming
new work, mastered by Robert Rich, has been announced as more rhythmical
and theme-oriented, I hope he keeps on producing this kind of nocturnal
drones as Paradin.
Does the term "space music" still mean anything
nowadays? Listening to this heap of shadows by Ben Fleury-Steiner,
here hiding behind the Paradin moniker for the first
time, maybe there's still a glimmer of hope for the "architects
of black holes", as Flesh of Caverns' gaseous
currents expand to fill every cranny of the listening space, its enigmatic
cascades of drones resonating in reverberant gorges to constitute a
pleasing alternative to silence (even if the massive overtones sometimes
drift dangerously and inevitably towards the land of Dark Ambient's
Old Master - yes, Lustmord - more or less finished today but I still
rate Heresy and The Place Where The Black Stars Hang as great records).
The somewhat more active closing track "Deep Sea Soil Dredging:
A Calcareous Ooze" is an aural picture of frozen, wide-eyed faces
trapped under ice desperately trying to attract attention to be delivered
from their eternal stillness, ultimately abandoning the attempt when
the sun disappears once and for all.
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