Ambient music - intended as incidental, background, "mood music" - is tailor-made to approximate landscapes and environments. Too often, however, ambient music is made entirely digitally - a far cry from the swooning, analog warmth of Brian Eno or the light, airy classicism of Claude Debussy or Erik Satie. It ends up as the sonic equivalent of an exquisitely rendered CGI terrain - perhaps insanely detailed, but ultimately forgettable, unrelatable and devoid of humanity.
The electric guitar, on the other hand, seems to channel the essence of humanity into ambient works, giving a slight emotional air even if it's unintentional, vague or abstract.
Iterations : Alterations is like a journey through some ancient, desolate planet, full of stormy thunderheads and dead monoliths - sculpted out of loopy ambient shoegazey guitar drones, from Lausanne, Switzerland's Larkian.
Iterations : Alterations is comprised of four slowly-evolving, glacially evolving drifting solo guitar reveries with each having its own inherent qualities, while also functioning as suites as part of a greater whole.
The greatest majority of Iterations : Alterations is relatively static and unchanging with glassy guitar feedback coming and going like the sunrise or the Northern Lights, especially on tracks like album opener "Cobb." Echoes come and go through the murk, like repeating memories of lost words, lost loves, lost worlds.
Iterations : Alterations is, quite simply, a stunning work of slowly evolving neoclassical ambient drone. Larkian's tone and technique are impeccable - as smooth as ectoplasm or the dead of night. This lets the Human shine through, in the shadow of the monolith.
We seem to be approaching something truly trans-human, in this world and culture, as machines gather big data to paint a picture of nature without us in it. Machines may be able to evoke vast, empty landscapes and complex social dynamics, but it'd take a very special algorithm to describe what all these insights mean to a Human Being. How would you describe the grief, if you were to walk through the decayed skeleton of a modern metropolis, if it all were to fade away overnight? How would you describe the loss of some epic life form, like a blue whale or a giraffe, in words? How can we explain the psychic stress and turmoil of living in a cloud of swarming data, surrounding our heads like black noise, never offering a moment's respite?
We need to learn how to live peacefully with the machines. We need to learn how to translate their information into wisdom. We need to keep imagining ourselves as part of these colossal landscapes or, maybe, someday, we won't be.
Iterations : Alterations is a stone cold classic work of gorgeous ambient emotionalism. Fans of atmospheric shoegaze like Labradford or Stars Of The Lid have another LP to drift away to while lovers of electronic dark ambiance, like Brian Eno's Apollo Atmospheres And Soundtracks or even a little bit of Lustmord will love to drift through this shadowy environment.
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