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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

CATALIN: Art of Darkness (2020)

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

Stunning and magnificent, this last album of Catalin hits us hard so much that we think to hear another OST from Mister Q

1 Art of Darkness 5:09

2 Happy Child 3:38

3 Hide and Seek 4:55

4 Turns in the Road 4:45

5 Universal Language of Pain 3:19

6 Never Miss a Day 3:44

7 Insanity out for the Sanity Within 4:41

8 Same but Different 4:42

9 The Way it Should have Been 3:40

10 Twisted 3:07

(CD/DDL 41:40) (V.F.)

(Electronic & Acoustic Tribal Ambient Music)

I've wanted to talk to you about this Catalin Marin album for a long time! Every time I was listened to Darshan Ambient, and most recently Robert Fox's last album, I wanted to listen to this ART OF DARKNESS from the Romano-Canadian musician. There are several points of reference between the 3 artists, in particular the influence of Vangelis in this cinematographic music which will bring some shivers to your tough soul. The link is made more with this somehow obscure vision that Robert Fox brings to his music. Because indeed, ART OF DARKNESS is a very dark album that could have served the cause of the horror film of the same name. It is rather another avenue that Catalin exploits in this album which is proposed as being a soundtrack for the film of the painter Bryan Lewis Saunders. This videographer, painter and performance poet has been committed to painting a self-portrait every day since 2014. He has passed the number of 10,000 at the time of this writing. The music for this second Catalin album on AD Music, the other being First Breath in 1999, reflects the somber character of the controversial American painter whose extroverted personality translates into a soundtrack that borders Thorsten Quaeschning's delusions in the early albums from Picture Palace Music. These albums offered a sweet mix of black and white movies and a blend of electronic- and acoustic instruments to build a totally wacky music sat on a dark piano that gives us chills in packs of 12!

The ambiences are dark and quite intriguing, like the opening of the title-track where a violin slyly caresses a discreet blooming of the piano. Percussive riffs, sounding like a mixture of guitar and percussion, weave a fascinating funeral dance in which this piano hangs onto it. A Picture Palace Music's kind of piano in the Curriculum Vitae I album, dark and hesitant with notes lying in a radioactive pouch. Surprisingly dark, Art of Darkness makes the most of a beautiful orchestral ensemble with a trio of piano, clarinets and orchestrations which surround this rhythm dancing on the other side of the mirror. The tone is set, ART OF DARKNESS will parade 9 other titles that will intrigue you. There is nothing cheerful about Happy Child except biting satire with slow pacing and overwhelming harmonies. The piano is bursting with notes ringing with a tonal fragility that charms as much as these slow orchestrations which seem to weave immense sorrow. Tibetan bells in an ambient non-rhythm structure, Hide and Seek is this first track which freezes an earworm with a fascinating melody strummed in very good cinematographic orchestrations. Another ballad flirting with schizophrenia, Turns in the Road becomes a kind of ritornello where the disturbed child within us spins and spins until it reaches intoxication. Another shivering track like in Never Miss a Day and the so good The Way it Should have Been where the violin cries in this purely acoustic track. Musical astonishment, Universal Language of Pain is like those musical interludes without defined rhythm which serve to fill the panoramic and cinematographic silences. Insanity out for the Sanity Within hides a good melody which resembles that of the title-track but in a more languid vision. An incredibly good track where the violin spreads its tears in an ambience so dark that one has this impression of being in the head of Bryan Lewis Saunders. I would hear a few extra minutes of this title that I would not mind! Same but Different is bordering on its complexities. I have already written it seems to me, but in case… The Way it Should have Been can make a bunion cry! The album ends with a Forrest Fang-style of tribal folk in Twisted which is very violent compared to the other 38 minutes of this amazing and magnificent Catalin album.

Sylvain Lupari (November 15th, 2020) *****

Available at AD Music

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