ATMAN'S UNREAL: Psalm of Solitude (2014)
Updated: Jun 10, 2020
“The biggest achievement of Psalm of Solitude is this this intense emotionalism that feed an album forged in the pain of the dark”
1 Book of Divination 4:32
2 Tool of Ritual 2:57
3 Relic of Occultation 3:45
4 Temple of Chaos 4:01
5 Crown of Horn 4:46
6 Reaper of Toll 4:05
7 Cloak of Truth 3:57
8 Altar of Reason 5:12
(DDL/CD 33:15) (V.F.)
(Deep gothic ambient EM)
Dark and meditative, even tenebrous, ambient music knows a strong renewal of popularity since a couple of years. We have to think of groups or artists such as Sam Rosenthal, Bakis Sirros, The Glimmer Room, Memory Geist, Perceptual Defence, Phobos or still the very dark opus Inverno by Gustavo Jobim to understand that the kind resuscitates constantly of its ashes which buzz continually of its firebrands. And the list is getting even bigger when we think of the last works from Ron Boots and Gert Emmens. Beyond this movement rises a new one; the ritual tribal ambient music. I think in particular of Halo Manash, Sky Burial and to the surprising works of Mystified. Atman's Unreal is the new rising figure of a style which awakens the imagination and gives shivers in the back on a night in the woods admiring the deformed reflections of the full moon on a lake which is drunk of mysteries. The original aspect in PSALM OF SOLITUDE is that it was mostly conceived on the software synths on an iPad. The profit, which is the fruit of improvised sessions, was annexed on skeleton of ambient moods that the designer has vaguely structured and which were inspired by the periods of torments which followed the suicides of his father and uncle.
And it's with clamors of a colony of night-insects grinding shamanic balls that Book of Divination invades our senses Far off, we can hear sinuous synth lines which float like mystic threatening clouds. Reverberations mutter and finish by spread an impressive pattern of synth pads which remind me the moods of The Glimmer Room's very melancholic and contemplative universes. Noises of chain open the very glaucous moods of Tool Ritual. Using a good headphone is very necessary, here as on everywhere on this album, if we want to catch these slow sound impulses which push these sluggish ectoplasmic lines and make sing their hosts. It's very dark and doubtless the coldest track. Each track begins with unusual noises which widen an aura of mystery and precede a very huge spiritual tranquillity. These iconoclastic clatters add a mesmerizing depth of discomfort where images of a wandering soul in an abandoned chalet is watching for its next preys are feeding the too much strange and sinister Relic of Occultation and Crown of Horn. One would believe to roam between two worlds. The jingles of Temple of Chaos entail us under a storm of reverberant lines of which the hideous hummings nourish a devilish machine of shivers. We are not far from Stephen Parsick's sound torments! Built the way that Atman's Unreal stripped his emotions, PSALM OF SOLITUDE follows a fascinating growth where the author seems to establish his lines of inside peace. True that Reaper of Toll sounds nerve-racking with these rustlings of howling metal which perspires of tears, but we feel a clearer sensibility there which takes away the mooing of tortured souls that were filling the first 25 minutes of this work fired up by bitterness. At this level, we cannot have more meditative than these soft lines of torments which float in the breaths of the very saddened synth in Cloak of Truth. Altar of Reason leads us back on the other hand to the square one with an avalanche of breaths and tremulous panting and of which the symbiosis exceeds everything of dark and black that my ears heard. Stephen Parsick at the power 10!
For a little that we love the black and its chthonian moods which are in perpetual appetite for ears a little bit virginal, PSALM OF SOLITUDE is strong ambient music album as black as the ashes of coal. But no matter the qualifiers or the diatribes on the genre, what strikes the most through the 33 short minutes of this mini album is this intense emotionalism, these breaths of pain which torments his author. We hear them, we feel them and we live them; it's the biggest achievement of this impressive album forged in the pain of the black.
Sylvain Lupari (September 1st, 2014) *****
Available at Atman's Unreal Bandcamp