MYSTERY SEA 21 | Paradin | [Flesh Of Caverns]


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- "Flesh of Caverns" is a post-acoustic-geologic-- the
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

-"The 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)


Ben Fleury-Steiner (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 memories,
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...


01. Undersea Excavation : A Cloud Of Manganese Dust > unrar + listen !
02. Sediment Subterrane : A Carbon Flux > unrar + listen !
03. Deep Sea Soil Dredging : A Calcareous Ooze




CHAIN D.L.K.|Eugenio Maggi
Rated : 4 stars out of 5
Ben Fleury-Steiner 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.
paris transatlantic

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