MYSTERY SEA 38 | ninth desert | [zone]


click to enlarge front click to enlarge back


-"My first wish when working with sound is to carve a landscape ; an open mental space which will change while going from one ear to an other.
This work in itself offers an infinite number of possibilities specific to the way the sound material is processed. For "zone", this landscape is directly bound to the visuals & to the name "Mystery Sea".
Each tone had to vehicle a feeling of immersion within the visual material, through its texture, in depth. It was thus a question of shaping a landscape from a graphic landscape, organizing a link between the two supports, into time & space, in motion, like two extensions responding to themselves.
Like with image, the sound appears to me like a porous body with multiple entries. Everything is a choice regarding the processing of the texture, and the combinations between the different gained results.
This version of "zone" (the 4th one) is the closest to what Mystery Sea evokes to me in visuals & sound terms : mental wanderings into graphic surfaces & through sound fluxes in constant transformation.

There are seven sequences : seven possibilities to wander into a same landscape."

- Cyril Herry , April 2007


Currently installed with minimum comfort in Creuse, in a secluded hamlet, Cyril Herry is dedicating most of his time to various forms of art (writing, graphics, photography, video...) and their intercombination...
Also veteran of the french experimental music scene, he had co-founded SECHRES MOUND (with Cédric peyronnet/TOY BIZARRE) EXOTOENDO, and expressed himself through various solo projects, LECANORA being the most known...
NINTH DESERT is his latest one with works released on TAÂLEM, VERATO & AFE... let's also mention that Cyril creates all the beautiful graphics for the TAÂLEM 3"cd-r series and the KOKESHIDISK sister-label... he also realized a special video which has been used by TROUM on tour...

ninth desert's "zone" is an invitation to merge into the layers of sound,
extending in a sea of intimate sensations & recycled memories,
opening up a myriad of universes, existing like small vortexes of condensed energy...
Cyril Herry fashions sound as clay, exploring interstices, variations of recurrent motifs, echoing a process of permanent elemental mutation...
"zone" attempts to freeze the quintessence of an experienced moment, building a sort of shelter... a place of reflection & ultimate contact...
Listen to these aural sculptures, apprehend their outlines & inner vibrations, and possibly, you'll get far deeper into the understanding of our surrounding world...


01. strate
02. marhbe
03. green
04. gathe
05. alke
06. ghorg
07. kollected




VITAL WEEKLY 577|Frans De Waard
When we reviewed Ninth Desert's 'Collision H' back in Vital Weekly 560, we said we didn't know much about him, but some further research learned us that he also worked as Lecanora, Exotoendo and Sechres Mound, the latter in collaboration with Cedric Peyronnet, of Toy Bizarre fame. Herry is also a designer who is responsible for the cover of Taâlem and Kokeshidisk. On 'Zone' he offers seven tracks of string like sounds, which seem to be stuck in an endless sustain. Chilling sounds, like a firm Arctic breeze. It's a bit unclear what he does to create this music, wether this is indeed long strings, processed feedback or analogue/digital synth and a lot of effects, but the latter seem to me clear. The previous release saw Ninth Desert in the field of Troum and Lustmord, but here's it more likely to be Alvin Lucier on a musical night. A pity that the seven pieces do sound kind a similar in approach and structure throughout, which makes it just a bit too similar throughout. But as a whole it makes a sturdy addition to the Mystery Sea catalogue of daring, experimental ambient music.
vital weekly

AQUARIUS new arrivals #268
There are a handful of cd-r labels out there who are meticulous, not only with the music they choose to release, but with the packaging, the presentation, the ideas and inspiration behind the label, the theme that runs through all of the music, with everything related to their label and the music on it, which is always so inspiring, especially when everyone you know has a limited cd-r label. One of our favorites is Belgian label Mystery Sea, who specialize in what they call "night-ocean drones", and each disc is gorgeously packaged with full color artwork, that matches the artwork on the disc, and it all reflects the music contained within. We get as many copies as we can, but with almost every Mystery Sea releases we get, they tend to disappear quite quickly.
The latest comes from Ninth Desert, whose sound is anything but arid and dry, desolate and warm. Instead, the sounds on Zone are cold, cool, chilly, wintery, lots of glistening high end, the sounds you might imagine would emanate from vast ice fields, or deep snowy caves, not so much rumble and buzz as sparkle and glimmer and glisten. Even at it's most low-end dronelike, the whirs are wrapped in streaks of keening high end, everything is bright and blown out. It's like the sonic version of laying in a huge snow bank, staring at the sun, everything is white and bright, too much for your eyes to handle so everything sort of glazes into strange indistinct shapes, glowing and shifting, like clouds in the sky, or huge slow moving chunks of ice in the sea. These sounds are arctic, almost alien, like wandering on the surface of some strange planet, everything icy and barren, cold winds whir and whine, the sound of the slow moving glaciers a muted creaking, all smeared into dreamy swaths of high end shimmer. So lovely. And so refreshing to experience a soothing, slow moving drone record, that doesn't rely entirely on low end rumble, but at the same time manages to make upper register sounds as soothing and soft focus as their lower ended brethren.
Like all Mystery Sea releases, strictly LIMITED TO 100 COPIES, each disc numbered on the tray card, and gorgeously packaged with striking full color artwork.

I maintain that time is fluid. Time is in a constant state of flux that we move with, through, into, out of, above, below, around and inside. What we perceive as 'time' is merely 'timing', the act of marking time, of constraining it and interpreting it as ticks on a clock. The perception is everything. Slow your perceptions and you slow time. Just exactly how long is a moment? I ask because that is exactly how long Zone takes to play. In it's grip time, as a signifier of length, loses all meaning as Ninth Desert enmeshes you in a vortex of complimentary, conflicting, contrasting, convulsive and compulsive sounds.
wonderful wooden reasons

One of my favourite expressions when analyzing the work of people dealing with sound construction is “some folks got it, some folks don’t”. This is especially true in the field which Mystery Sea specializes on, and I’m happy to report about yet another project from the Belgian label that certainly “got it”, at least for its large part. It’s not that this album proposes something truly new, but the care that Cyril Herry - the mind after Ninth Desert - put in this music to have it sound like an overbearing, suffocating soundtrack is almost tangible. So, what does “Zone” sound like? Picture a deserted urban landscape, no human presence in sight, only a slight breeze that moves fallen leaves and disposed objects for short distances. Try to make that coincide with a mixture of hissing steam and acute stridencies, accompanied by metallic echoes and a few distant rumbles, similar to an approaching storm. Add long moments of hush, in close proximity with silence, where the external sounds try to distract attention only to return to their background status when the menacing vultures of Ninth Desert’s hallucinating images come over our head again. Although not easily recognizable - due to their heavy treatment - guitars, percussion and tapes seem to be among the basic origins of the recordings. Don’t take it for granted, though. No wonder that Herry is a collaborator of the excellent Cédric Peyronnet (aka Toy.Bizarre); this stuff sounds pretty serious, its cinematic nuances notwithstanding.
touching extremes

TOKAFI |Tobias Fischer  
While painters are never accused of continuing to work with brush, canvas and colors, the palette of a soundartist is always suspect to close scrutiny. One agonizing question lurks behind every tone and follows him into his dreams: Am I repeating myself? The case of Cyril Herry and his ninth desert project, however, is different. If we are worried about the amount of sleep he gets, then only because of his eclectically proliferating ouput, which includes the responsibility for the design of the 3’’ Mini-CDs of French label Taâlem, releases under various names in the context of his solo work and group efforts, as well as photography and writing. It is true that “Zone” is not reinventing the wheel and refers to the same set of expressions that have already led many other drone artists. But it is the way in which he applies these expressions that makes it a personal statement nonetheless.
Before he shakes things up, though, Herry first eliminates all but the most punchy elements from his music. Instead of weaving a tight net of interrelated effects, his arrangements are wide open, each note is a singular event which originates from the void, blooms and dies down again – like drops of water forming on and falling from the ceiling of a stalactite cave. There is nothing but a vacuum between them, carefully penetrated by his sharply edged drones, coming to the ear of the listener in successions of long breaths: “Zone” hovers high above the ground, floating in the upper resonances, which awards it a weightless and spacey feeling and makes no effort whatsoever of going somewhere in a hurry.
These are the foundations of the genre and Herry could have resigned himself to piecing them together in a skillful manner, which would probably still have resulted in a respectable work. He doesn’t, however, and it is here that his album receives its clear outlines. In “strate”, the sounds whistle like birds inside a tropical rainforest or oil tankers entering the harbour bay from afar, its reverberated echoes painting delicate melodies on the night sky. “marhbe” begins and ends with long stretches of silence and on “alke”, an ethereally distorted instrument squeals in pain – though it remains uncertain whether these are the feeble cries of a harmonica or an overblown flute. Ninth Desert, as it seems, it about using the timbral qualities of more or less well-known sounds and casually experimenting with their functionality. Especially the factor of playfulness can hardly be stressed enough. Even though tracks are serene and serious, they can never be pinned down to a single mood or interpretation.
There are even traces of humor and irony to be found – rare guests in these fields nowadays. At times, I had the impression as if the album as a whole and its general development was led by entirely different influences. Herry has even built in a grand finale, which for once works with the lower resonance space and ends in a conciliatory coda. His interest lies in making this world of stasis sing again, to turn his pieces from mere metaphors into jubilant, exultant celebrations, regardless of how atmospheric and secluded they may be on a first listen. With “Zone” he has come far in achieving this aim – and sailed clear of the dangers of repetition.

e/i installment #15 - December 07 | Alan Lockett  
Cyril Herry’s Ninth Desert, on the other hand, has the feel of being played out inside a massive reverberating shell—the antithesis of an anechoic chamber. His Zone is a virtual vacuum into which is sucked a variety of passing winds from nowhere, most of them chill and bearing a host of sonorous foreign bodies. It's roughly sectioned into seven fairly homogeneous stretches populated by long stringy wisps, flutings, and keenings, drizzled in a strange lubricious effect-oil that drips off every contour. Rather than conventional arrangements which pull together a range of sounds and layer them, Herry tends to dissociate sounds from each other, so in this sense the desert in his project name—in contrast to the teeming jungle now expected of Mystery Sea people—becomes metaphorical, as isolated organisms spring up and snake out exposed to a wilderness left devoid of recognizable landmarks. On “Strate”, the sounds are those of bird-like twitterings or a remote metallic clangor, while “Marhbe” flirts at both ends with near-silence, and “Alke” features what sounds like a harmonica manhandled into strident smears. These foreground events are periodically attended by a quiet riot of background flutter, skitter and rustle, disappearing with a sonic snail’s trail of liquid reverberation into a wide open soundfield. Sometimes the loneliness of the sounds, whispering and whistling with edge-of-overdriven echo-delays, like long drawn out wheezes with feedback halos, accentuates the sense of vacuum in between. Overall it's a work that bears more than enough reward for the more conventional deep listener to make it worthwhile, but its sound field becomes in its own way as limited as that of Asher. Ultimately the drone of Zone is one that floats high above ground, its resonances unconcerned with earth or fire, all water and air.

Rated : 3 stars out of 5
Zone’s take on ambience submerges the listener in an strange  aquatic and uneasy world  where you visit 7 sound rooms with in a vast creaking and slowly flooding asylum- the rooms a-swim with patience battened and bloody possessions, yellowed photos and their clinical records.
Each track opens slowly bobbing into audio view like bloated decaying corpse seen from a distant, building the uneasy and dread slowly but surely- at first causing Goosebumps then deep shudders of sonic fear. The tracks are built around muffled, echoed and soured tones that can’t easily be defined as coming from one source. Mixing together melting and greyed children’s music box unfold,  haunting death horn like calls, bent eerier harmonic textures, creaking/settling abounded building drones, or grey expanse of  echoing off down dark tunnels dread. The vibe with-in is pungent with decay, insanity and fear- for it’s full effect and maximum uneasy this needs to be to let unfold over you in a quiet and  darkening  space so your mind is allowed to float free like a decaying flesh boat off into zone’s underground sound river.
Ambience primed for fearful daydreams, paranoid comedowns or just when you really have the need to submerge your self in dank creepiness.

musique machine

>>> back to the Reviews index