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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

AES DANA: Inks (2019)

Psybient moods on not quite psybient phases on an album of a post-apocalyptical Electronica style as appetizing for the ears as catchy for the feet

1 Inks 7:30

2 Unfold 7:04

3 Nuphar Log 7:19

4 Peace Corrosion 7:57

5 Otherness (Album Edit) 8:04

6 Transparency Syndrome 6:24

7 Akacie 7:48

8 Ashen 7:12

9 The Gradual District 7:30

10 Alep Offset 8:38

11 Juniper 7:06

(CD/DDL 82:32) (V.F.)

(Psy dance, IDM, EDM, Psybient)

It takes vocabulary to well describe the 11 phases of this amazing album from Aes Dana! It’s been a while Vincent Villuis had not given a new album to our ears. I mean a real one. And INKS is a heck of an album! You have to go back to 2012 with the album Pollen. Admittedly, he participated in some DJ's remixes invited by the Lyon-based label of which the last one in the running, Polarity from Focal, precisely presented a title (Otherness) of INKS. The first listening suggests a most fascinating sonic fauna on dance rhythms which come and go and fall apart in their random structures. White noises, glitches, reverberations of drones in deterioration, light hoops which evaporate on contact of a sound obstacle and invisible murmurs of voodoo are among these elements that make these 11 structures of a post-apocalyptical Electronica style as appetizing for the ears as catchy for the feet. At the height of my 60's, I only fed my ears, my eyes wide open. My feet are comfortably warm in my woollen slippers.

And it starts with the title-track and its shadow of sounds that splits water, raising clouds engorged of drizzle. Waves roam on a bank watched by these living hoops which form these drones wandering in an ocean of lost tones. A heavy pulse spawns through this path of tortuous atmospheres, structuring a rhythm that turns into futuristic hip-hop. A rhythm fed of this attractive psybient tones' fauna and which refuses any form of uncertainty in order to beat a sustained rhythm where each step makes microscopic sound particles leap. So goes the title-track, so go the other 10 musical ink stains from INKS. If the structures differ, the ambiences and its elements remain rooted with other creative treasures to offer. Rhythm and non-rhythm, or down-tempo that needs momentum, Unfold is like a sound creature in Jell-O that needs beats and rhythmic clicks to make its sonorous carcass evolve. There is an impressive percussive flora, of woods or organic, on this structure where sound points are born which sparkle here and there. Nuphar Log also gently touches our ears before taking the road to techno supported by echo effects and murmurs of white noises. The sharp blow of a percussive cartridge releasing glitter powders, and the rustling of sonic shadows resonate here and there while a hungry bass line redirects Nuphar Log towards a solid Plastikman techno style. Peace Corrosion feeds a little on this bass line and on the clickings of this finale to embrace another technoïd form as catchy despite this sound mass of radioactive cracklings and of shivering embers. The more we advance in INKS, the more our ears and our senses sink into wild dance hymns.

Otherness (Album Edit) screws us onto our armchair with its Californian boom-boom and its percussive effects that wiggle in stereo mode. Transparency Syndrome brings us back a little to the ambiences and this changing sound skin of Inks. Emerging from an oceanic area, Akacie seduces us in a blues for Terminators with circular reverberations, and their freon powders, as well as rustling shadows which follow the curve of a rhythm born of indecision. Ashen offers one of these rhythms which are constructed and deconstructed against a background of parasitic and radioactive noises. Pangling between a lively structure, drum & bass, with percussion effects of a crossbow style (ttrriifffs) and a less rapid structure which breaks down in atmospheric phases, Ashen ends up wandering in an acid combustion. Whispers from a peaceful neighborhood illuminate the post-apocalyptic ambiences of The Gradual District which is a nice ambient title too weary, too slow to inherit of a psybient style. Hoops come and go whereas a rhythm line forms to dissolve immediately in a phase that creates an illusion of a rhythmic spawning with no life expectancy. Only a real psybient was missing in this industrial dance music decor, and it's done with the heavy and powerful Alep Offset and its vocal effects of specters trapped between two dimensions and its resonances of a musical anvil in a sonorous gelatin infiltrated by ttrriiits- ttrriiits and tssitt-tsiitt which are born, grow and disintegrate as much here as in the 82 minutes of this album. We feel that the title is hungry for more heaviness but will remain on this gargantuan appetite. Juniper grows up with a nice introduction sewn into the reverie of the ambient EM. The synth pads pile up with their different shades and visions, fusing serenity and anxiety in another structure of rhythm and non-rhythm which makes this INKS experience quite remarkable. A great Aes Dana album!

Sylvain Lupari (January 21st, 2020) ****¼*

Available at Ultimae Records

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