CHRISTOPHER ALVARADO: Ancient Doors (2013)
Updated: Aug 20, 2020
“This is a stunning sonic adventure which mixes psybient, ambient and tribal rhythms in a dense texture of all kind of noises and sounds”
1 Andromeda at Dawn 5:55
2 Civilizations 4:09
3 The Lock of Past 4:48
4 Dakini (Sky Goer) 4:32
5 Dunes 5:23
6 Jewel of the Jackal 4:48
7 Lady of the Skirt of Snakes 5:48
8 Dunes (Drifting Waves Mix) 5:23
9 Pixiu with Fortune 4:16
10 Adhene 4:30
11 Sculpture of the Yali 5:15
12 Andromeda at Dusk 6:00
(DDL/CD 60:50) (V.F.)
(Psybient and dark industrial)
Making music for a movie which doesn't exist. A movie which takes place in our head but that we would want to show to everybody. To say the least, to more possible people as it can be. Such is the vision of the Aural Music label. Such is also Christopher Alvarado's challenge on his album which aims to be a sound journey in the ancestral spiritual borders of the Aztecs. ANCIENT DOORS is as much puzzling as fascinating. It's an album powerful of its uncountable synthesized impulses which paralyze implosive rhythms. It's also a very intense album where the synth layers to iridescent tones conceal many surrealist voices, where the undecided percussions build approximate rhythms, where the orchestral arrangements decorate film atmospheres, where the spectral voices draw spiritual choreographies and where the industrial noises take esoteric tints. But it's before all an imperceptible album which is going to please to the diehards of black atmospheres and to fans of very abstracted psybient EM.
Andromeda at Dawn begins the sonic adventure with hesitating chords which are rocked by a enveloping aura of mystery. Ectoplasmic groans, disturbing knockings and fluty breaths decorate an intro where the atmospheres are as well sinister as charming. Percussions draw the debit of a gallop. The slow debit of a ghost metronome which beats and faints in some dense abstracted synth pad to the colors of blue powder. This absent rhythm which constantly gives the impression of exploding but implodes is ANCIENT DOORS source of charms. The rhythms here are evasive and buried beneath dense synth layers adorned of aromas more psychedelic than harmonious. One has the vague feeling to float in a burning sonic magma and that these strikings of uncertain percussions weave an imaginary road towards an unreal world. If the avalanche of sounds and tones may disrupt a little bit the passions, Civilizations reconciles us with its beautiful Bedouin percussions which drum a hypnotic clanic rhythm. I'm hearing Mike Batt with these gurglings of a vicious bass line. This delicate oniric intro is violently snatched by a thick cloud of eclectic tones which paint an impressive Gothic industrial pattern, in particular with these noises of chains and these lost voices which try to wrap Civilizations of an angelic approach. It's a good and very magnetizing track. The Lock of Past is an intense ambient track with the tribal approach of a tribe living under concrete ruins. And this is a bit the paradoxes of this album. If Christopher Alvarado wants to impose musical structures of old ancestral people, he grafts to his music so many sonic particles that the whole thing is degenerating into an impressive magma of metal in fusion. Encircled into psybient structures, the rhythmic approaches are attractive and their attractions live in this intense fusion of sounds, tones and noises which slows down the pace. Let's take example on the cold and very acid Dakini (Sky Goer); its frame of abstract rhythm freezes in a noisy industrial carousel livened up by jerky cawings.
The ambiences are rich. We don't have enough our two ears to assimilate all this sonic energy which overflows in each track. Dunes and its beautiful orchestrations which wrap up some delirious voices and also the intriguing Lady of the Skirt of Snakes are as well attractive as disturbing. This morphic wrapping is quite appealing because Alvarado knows how to play with his rhythms and his atmospheres. So, the very good Jewel of the Jackal turns into a suave organic down-tempo. The sitar embellishes the twisted ambiences which teem such as industrial spectres over a virgin forest. It's very good, especially when the rhythm livens up of heaviness. I'm hearing Death in Vegas here. Dunes (Drifting Waves Mix) is another beautiful example with a very good down-tempo with some tribal airs of the Middle East. And the sitar is a real small delight to pepper the atmospheres. Black and very para-psychedelic, Pixiu with Fortune contains a claustrophobic cachet where percussions of all kinds resound like drops of water in a cave. The music adventure becomes more and more soaked with a veil of psychedelism. After a slow and imposing sound intro, Adhene explodes of an infectious sonic madness which risks to blow up your loudspeakers. Sculpture of the Yali plunges us into a universe of horror with its organic rhythm which beats under uncountable voices of witches on the hunt. Andromeda at Dusk calms down things a little with a more clement approach where the rhythm keeps silent in an immense immersive sound magma. It's always noisy, it's always intense but it's a little less wild than the rest of ANCIENT DOORS which is a stunning album where the industrial ambient music crosses black rhythms. It's not for all the ears but that remains extremely fascinating. To listen to with the same open-mindedness as Christopher Alvarado.
Sylvain Lupari (October 26th, 2013) ***½**
Available at Aural Music Bandcamp