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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Christian Fiesel Still Waiting At The Gate (2022)

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

A small marvel full of subtleties for the lovers of the Dark Ambient genre

1 When Language Left me and Silence Took my Senses 31:53

2 Still Waiting at the Gate 19:00

3 The Emptiness in the Heart Reflected on a Lonely Canvas 6:11

4 The Creep is Dead 2:34

5 Silently Decaying 19:43

(DDL/CD 79:22) (V.F.)

(Dark Ambient)

When an artist informs his audience, as well as his possible new fans, that the discovery of his latest album requires a great openness of mind, that one should not listen to it too loudly and that he advises us to give it a second chance in order to discover it better, well, we must wonder. As much on Facebook as on the Bandcamp site of this new downloadable album of Christian Fiesel on Cyclical Dreams, the German musician gives these comments that let us foresee that the taming of this STILL WAITING AT THE GATE will be far from easy. And he is half right! Those who like the kind of Dark Ambient music modulated from drones are on familiar ground. Even if the structures flirt with a Dantesque vision, they are more likely to appreciate a little more easily the 5 structures of this new album that the Argentinian label decided to produce, pushing the limits of Cyclical Dreams far into the Lands of the Unknown. We are far from Carnival of the Uninvited here with an album where you have to listen carefully in order to detect the threads of rhythm and melody woven from nothingness. But there are! And for those who want to tame this musical genre created under the aegis of Christian Fiesel, keep in mind his first two tips. Because STILL WAITING AT THE GATE needs as much aural attention as the audacity of its creator to make your listening perceptive.

When Language Left me and Silence Took my Senses starts with a distant sound. A whisper from between the walls of an old abbey where reclusive monks are humming a chthonian psalm. A gloomy wave is grafted to this obscure litany. Its radiance radiates a shadow of humming whose tonal nature remains to be determined. If everything unfolds slowly, the level of intensity shows its colors as soon as the 4th minute with waves that crunch in a zone where the darkness swallows our senses. We enter a territory of very Dark Ambient music whose movements are made by the accentuation of the synth waves which move like the progression of a two-toed sloth on an ascending road. A first sound tumult occurs around the 9th minute with effects of lapping which carry out some kicking on a structure dominated by hummed drones. Silence makes a few ephemeral appearances, giving back its muteness to these synth lines that trick our ears with voice effects intermingled with lighter hums. A silent zone tickles our ears with a light felting of sound around the 15th minute. When Language Left me and Silence Took my Senses goes off on another tangent a minute later when austere chords and different tones of bells invite themselves in this silent musical mass. The two elements sculpt a fascinating piano/tinkling procession, sculpting the walk of visually impaired people through a bumpy tunnel. This mini obscure symphony exults its last sound in a zone of dark winds after the 21st minute. These winds howl with arcs of woosshh hovering over opalescent synth lines, initiating an astral ballet where two abstract bodies unite their contrasts in one of the beautiful moments of this long track that flirts with the 32 minutes. A second sound tumult disrupts this improbable waltz of the senses after the 25th minute. It sounds like gunshots in an abandoned forest! The dark breezes come back to cauterize the ambiences with humming sung by dysleptic voices. The intensity reappears a few minutes later to disappear again and be reborn in a finale where silence is not more victorious than in the whole of When Language Left me and Silence Took my Senses.

Still Waiting at the Gate begins with a thin line of singing winds that turns into a heavy layer of drones. Playing with sound contrasts, Christian Fiesel blows hot and cold by swapping the nature of these initiatory ambiences that exchange darkness and refulgence between silence and its boborygmus to reach the core of the sonic disturbance of the title. The tinklings are at the origin of this sounds awakening shortly after the 5th minute. It sounds like small hammer blows on an anvil made of iridescent glass. Gradually, percussive vibrations, waves of white-noises, arcs of sounds ignited by eroded tones and frantic screams adorn the evolution of Still Waiting at the Gate, which requires even more love than When Language Left me and Silence Took my Senses due to its bipolar nature where the sarcasm of the sounds merges into more seraphic zones and phases where the opposite dominates. The Emptiness in the Heart Reflected on a Lonely Canvas blows like a quiet river with a nice mesh of drones and peaceful murmurs. The Creep is Dead is offering a beautiful ode to mellotron in a hushed atmosphere. A good fluty tone that we love to hear and hear in a musical perfume that reminds so much the dark atmospheric and gothic zones of Tangerine Dream. Too short! The opening of Silently Decaying could not be more representative of the track's spirit. The compositional elements have a percussive vision, simulating an abstract cadence that takes refuge in a zone of static sonic turbulences. It's an audacious track that the German musician-synthesist brings to our ears with the accuracy of its spirit. Even if a little devilish melody tinkles in the background and even if noise elements structure an organic rhythm coming from afar, the decomposition of sounds in an environment controlled by drones and black winds remains the source of the track. Grave keyboards chords lay over a pulsating vampiric bass layer that draws our attention around the 12 minute mark. These beats and the decomposed melody are caught by aggressive synth blasts between the 16th and 17th minute, leading the track into a finale where silence finally overcomes the drones that are the essence of STILL WAITING AT THE GATE.

If the mutism, the silence of the black angels has its own elements of charm, of submission towards the abstract quietude, STILL WAITING AT THE GATE is the door to it. The music is dark, yes! But its breaths, its pores of silence that slowly explode into drones that are hummed by the inexplicable expose a greater territory, greater possibilities to the music of the genre. Much like Fading out of Sight, there are many beautiful moments in these turbulent moments of silence throughout this very mysterious album by Christian Fiesel who has become an authority in the art of exploiting the long as you take the trouble! A small marvel full of subtleties for the lovers of the Dark Ambient genre.

Sylvain Lupari (July 27th, 2022) *****

Available at Cyclical Dreams Bandcamp

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