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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Carbon Based Lifeforms Stochastic (2021)

A major work of purely ambient music with a vibe of ethereal poetry

1 6EQUJ5 13:34

2 Holding Time 10:03

3 Hello from the Children of Planet Earth 10:48

4 Probability Approaches Infinity 9:34

5 Stókhos 7:36

6 Mycorrhizal Network 7:45

7 Delsjön 6:33

8 Sphere Eversion 7:32

9 Eigenvector 13:35

10 Finite State Space 8:21

(CD/DDL 95:23) (V.F.)

(Ambient Music)

STOCHASTIC or the random dimensions that feed the 10 structures and the 95 minutes of a purely ambient electronic music (EM) album. After an absence of 4 years and the delicious Derelicts, Carbon Based Lifeforms revives a style amply exploited in the albums Twentythree and VLA in 2011, the atmospheric spaces. Yet, STOCHASTIC has almost never reached our ears. Daniel Ringström and Johannes Hedberg had fun exploring the random functionality of old synthesizers they hadn't used in a long time. The music created in this vague experiment was used to fill in the ambiences when the two musicians were doing related tasks to the band. They noticed that these random sequences of music kept their minds relaxed and focused. Very pleased with the results, they reworked the music by adding ambient melodies and those muted rhythmic pulses that constantly stirred up that desire to hear more. Bathing in a delightful cosmic atmosphere, STOCHASTIC has become quite quickly that companion to my reading and even my sleeping for a couple of weeks now. We are in those territories where ambient music has its soul!

The first sound rays of 6EQUJ5 have a celestial touch with soft waves that incubate threads of ethereal voices. A ghost beat can be heard, simulating a slow amphibian rhythm. A bit like an eddy effect which is pulsating in Cosmos. The synth waves are divided between cerulean blue and a slightly scarlet hue, keeping that seraphic texture where the drones remain the backdrop from which emerge slow vibrational pulsations of the ambient rhythm. We are not far from Jean-Michel Jarre's universe in the long title-track of Waiting for Cousteau. Holding Time also has its ghost rhythm with a bass layer that hums like an industrial machine. These hums follow a curve of intensity that remains to an atmospheric level. A plethora of synth waves escape from it. They follow this slight implosion of the bass' creeping movement, radiating the colors of the rainbow with textures that are sometimes passive and sometimes emotive. Now, imagine a multicolored ink stain on blotting paper that extends its hold by metamorphosing its texture, and you have the most beautiful sonic image to define the axes of serenity that create the slow symphony of Hello from the Children of Planet Earth. The bass layer that drives this slow bloom is as chloroformed as the movement. An ambient track that is simply delicious and of which the slight tinklings, well scattered, sound like organic rattling, are attention-grabbers. This metaphor of the inkblot serves as well the other tracks of this new offering of CBL. Probability Approaches Infinity guides us into the more Dark Ambient genre territories of the album with a heavy mass of drones. These dark hollow breezes slowly move this sonic shuttle forward, its carcass gleaming with its pale copper reflections.

The very long Eigenvector is of the same kind with very nice ambient chants of the synths. The ghostly surges of the movement are increased tenfold by muffled pulses that are caused by clashing drone layers. Stókhos creates melodious hums that come and go like the ambient song of a fat snorer. Synth lines initiate distant seraphic chants with diverse shapes and colors, there is a Jarre influence here, while other layers extend lunar orchestrations. One sleeps well on it! The synths continue to develop good phases of seraphic harmonies on Mycorrhizal Network. The nest of vibratory buzzes is like a sound source that make radiate multitudes of waves and synth lines with melodious and orchestral qualities. Taking advantage of a much more intense opening, Delsjön magnetizes our senses with a slow cosmic waltz that drifts on its bed of drones. The movement is hyper slow with a touch of lyricism because of these secretly audible voices that sail on these layers and of this opaline texture that makes them glow. Sphere Eversion meticulously hides a ghost rhythm with long shifts between the cadenced pulses that stretch into industrial rustles. Its movement is as slow as Delsjön without offering this tendency to waltz in the Cosmos. It drifts as much on a linear movement whose synth waves have this tendency to rise with a variable level of emotional intensity, creating nice poignant motifs, in a cloud of sound particles that come from the decomposition of these copper waves that are born and disintegrate on a huge shroud of hums. Water lappings stirs the ambiences of Finite State Space, which flirts with Dark Ambient style with more resonant drones that move with an amorphous gait. More translucent filaments inject another form of ambient melody that groans through this buzzing horizon painted of black.

The shapes, textures and colors of sounds! Beyond all forms of mathematics, there is a trait of emotionality that makes the discovery of STOCHASTIC tasty. I like this equitable balance between the darker textures and these dreamlike phases, between the coldness of the Cosmos and the warmth of the emotions that serves as a springboard to create it. In the end, it is a very beautiful album that gives these letters of nobility to an art that too few give themselves the time to discover with the patience of its relevance. A major work from Carbon Based Lifeforms for the genre!

Sylvain Lupari (December 20th, 2022) *****

Available at Carbon Based Lifeforms Bandcamp

(NB: Text in blue are links you can click on)

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