Sunday, 13 January 2008

Angel - Kalmukia

Angel is Ilpo Vaisanen (Pan Sonic) Hildur Gudnadottir (Lost In Hildurness) and Dirk Dresselhaus (Schneider TM). Ilpo and Dirk have worked and released material as Angel for a couple of years but to the best of my knowledge this is the first time they’ve recorded with Hildur (she also appears on the current Pan Sonic album).

I don’t have the proper cover for this as it’s a promo so I’m not sure how the cover relates to the sounds as Ilpo is credited with “story and drawings,” so I’m wondering if this is supposed to be the soundtrack to a story printed on the cover.

The sounds itself are nothing like either Pan Sonic or Schneider TM. The same elements are there but this often veers closer to modern classical than it does to experimental.
The whole feel of this album is very subdued and slow moving there’s nothing rushed everything moves along at it’s own pace. Even the first track with it’s use of loud heavy guitar still only moves at a slighter faster pace than say a recent Earth track. It wouldn’t feel out of place on Earth’s “Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method.”

The guitar takes a back seat for the middle of the album. Tracks two and three (Kalmukia and Effect of Discovery) are both led by the cello. Kalmukia is a very mournful sounding piece, the cello playing slowly as some background electronics very subtly start to take over the piece. It fades out to five minutes of a restrained collection of taps and ambient electronics. Effect of Discovery starts of sounding like Stockhausen’s 1950s Electronic Studies. Again very subdued and understated with the cello starting to make its mark a few minutes in. The whole track starts to get busier with more electronics and a slightly heavier feel to it. The last track Aftermath reminds me of Tangerine Dream around the time of Hyperborea. It has a similar range of sounds to that album with a slightly Eastern tinge to it. Sounds like lots of loose guitar strings going through some delay with some slightly discordant cello sounds behind it. For me this is the weakest piece on the album it hasn’t got the slightly sinister ambience of (particularly) tracks two and three and though it’s got a nice balance of light and dark it’s too uplifting in comparison with the rest of the album. Again I think maybe the cover would explain more and perhaps make it clear why this track sounds as it does.

On the whole it’s a good album it’s not what I expected having heard Ilpo’s solo album of a few years ago but after a few listens it’s certainly a grower and it’s good to see people step outside the box and surprise you.

Released by the EditionsMego label on the 21st Jan 2008

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