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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

EMMENS & HEIJ: Signs (2014)

Signs is a soundtrack of lunar moods flooded by ambiences which are at the diapason of a slowly subversive madness

1 First Light 17:03 2 Signs 7:28 3 From Beyond 15:13 4 Deceptive Silence 22:59 5 Void 10:31 Emmens/Heij | EH-008

(CD/DDL 72:43) (V.F.) (Ambient cosmic EM)

A mini concerto of very discreet carillons spreads the resonances of bells into synth lines among which the lazy twists are floating such as some suspended metallic singings by dark chorus. Notes of piano come to ring more hardly than the bells, weaving a somber melody dislocated in a dense thick cloud of synth breezes and singings. First Light raises proudly its naming with a day invasion on night ashes. There are 10 minutes past to the meter and always First Light floats as a threat with translucent lines which avoid all harmony with the notes of a piano always mislaid in an opaque sibylline canvas. But where are the sequences? The percussions? We hear here and there small drumming, more of trampling, but First Light remains ambient. Very ambient. Just like the whole of SIGNS. This last album of the duet Gert Emmens & Ruud Heij is an intrusion in the world of dark and ominous ambient music. Both accomplices abandon sequences and percussions to concentrate on the art to modulate abstract sonic landscapes flooded by ambiences which are at the diapason of a slowly subversive madness. The Dutch duet doesn't do things by halves. SIGNS is an immersive album where the listener is plunged in full lunar darkness in search of the slightest thread of rhythm. But there is no rhythm here. Only atmospheres. But twisted atmospheres and of a rare sinister wealth where is linked a multitude of anfractuous lines and where the discomfort roams in every plot of luminosity.

Fine starred particles sparkle in the very cosmic breaths of the title-track. Breaths, or slow dying digression, which cover themselves of a hoarse tone of didgeridoo float like the shadows of space shuttles which left tracks ghosts. We are literally in the heart of a cosmic darkness with some black breaths which suck up our subconscious and the only sign of life is blown by very pensive harmonies scattered here and there by the vestiges of piano or guitar. Here, and in the little more musical Void, it's a guitar and its solitary riffs which drag a melancholy in an astral space while From Beyond, just like First Light, scatters 4 minimalist notes of a very meditative piano which loses its tears in forgetting. The first part offers a sonic landscape of the most disturbing with slow synth waves which disturb the delicate harmonies of a piano mislaid in these so many breaths, breezes and voices as soporific than gloomy. The approach is as much dark and disturbing as in First Light, even if both tracks are enormously alike. Deceptive Silence is a very dark, at sometimes uncomfortable, music piece with these strange pulsations which beat under a thick cloud of streaks to the aromas of howling metal. The introduction is very psychotronic with tones which forge an unreal life while that quietly the track loses its weak lifeline in a storm of lugubrious breezes which roar like winds eating empty holes. This long title plunges the listener into a sonic black hole where all the abstract forms take life to come undone as other tones, always very abstract, shape the imperceptible. There are more ethereal passages where the calm exposes a relative tranquillity with synth waves which waltz and sing like some kind of cosmic whales, but always Deceptive Silence is eaten away from the inside by a rich sonic fauna with deep lunarscapes eroded by infertility. An adornment taken back by Void and its 4 notes of guitar as meditative as the piano of From Beyond. Adornment as much fascinating as disturbing and which makes quite all the charms of SIGNS; a soundtrack of lunar moods.

Sylvain Lupari (May 13th, 2014) ***½**

Available at Emmens & Heij's Bandcamp

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