IVAN BLACK: @Ambient Online 3 (2022)
“A nice album which listens very well with the ears carefully wrapped of headphones”
1 A Gesture of Disdain 6:58
2 Cassini Division 6:32
3 Ecstasy is Treachery 6:00
4 Glittering Diamonds in Heat 6:49
5 Helios 6:20
6 Indigo 5:37
7 Moving Through 5:30
8 Paintings are Subversive 5:34
9 Sol Invictus 6:46
10 Too Many Pictures on my Screen 6:18
11 Turquoise 7:03
12 Visiting the Empty Rooms 6:51
(DDL 76:25) (V.F.) (Ambient Music)
It's a bit difficult to untangle Ivan Black's multiple participations in different artistic projects. Always very prolific, the musician sculptor of sounds, as of works of art, is behind some projects like the AmbientOnline.org and the @the ambient corporation Artwork, in addition to initiating a more personal series like Lost Places of which we could hear the very impressive Visitors to the Dream Palace released in March this year. @AMBIENT ONLINE 3 is a 3rd compilation of tracks originally composed for the Ambient Online Comps. The selected tracks have been reworked and remastered in a new artistic approach called Immersient. The English musician strongly recommends the listening with good headphones or at high volume to annoy your neighbors. In a sentence it means, it's not because you see the word ambient on an ambient title, that it's necessarily lifeless. At least, not on this @AMBIENT ONLINE 3.
After an opening typical of electronic music (EM) and more particularly of the so-called ambient style, A Gesture of Disdain makes hear its first pulsations around the 2nd minute. They jump in the mirror effect of an ambient fog, stretching their resonances in a rubbery texture that gives the impression of a sustained rhythm. The synth layers are like flying objects whose contours define a fictional corridor. They crisscross this space, skirting around these drifting leaps where a brief carousel of shimmering arpeggios jingles in its final third. Visiting the Empty Rooms concludes this album with a seductive comparative approach. Cassini Division unties a thread of resonances in the form of strobes bouncing around in an envelope of static. The electronic setting is typical of a murky EM with hollow breezes where the imagination perceives vocal timbres camouflaged in the ululations of those synth winds. Constantly trying to feed our ears with different rhythmic perspectives, Ivan Black inserts a series of kicks that are echoed in industrial tinkles for the second part of the track. The very long Turquoise, after its more than 4 minutes of sleepy ambiences, unveils a similar rhythmic structure. Except that its rhythmic arpeggios are hit curtly. Ecstasy is Treachery follows with an ether dust ambience. Almost anonymous, its rhythmic backbone is drowned in a broth of chloroformed elements. There's a mix of old Klaus Schulze and Remy in this beautiful track that ultimately reminds me more of Steve Roach 😊. I often make a parallel with Edgar Froese's music when I listen to Ivan Black. It's true that I discovered his world with the beautiful Edgar tribute album, Remember the Dream Goes On in 2015. As it is also true that each of his albums has a track or two that are flavored with these influences. After an atmospheric opening flirting with the 3-minute mark, Glittering Diamonds in Heat offers a chloroformed beat that zigzags along in a melodious, neuron-slackening ambience. There's a lot of Stuntman in this track. Indigo, which emerges from a cryptic setting to offer another fluid rhythmic structure in an oval racetrack layout describing large 8's with oblong curves, has the same effect.
Helios is a beautiful track that has one of the nicest openings on this album. Intense and dramatic with droning waves mixed with seraphic vocal threads, its setting fills our ears with these possible and multiple contrasts between the synth waves until a good waddling of a limpid and ambient rhythm line caresses our ears around the 5th minute. It is very beautiful! In a faster vision, Moving Through proposes a rhythm heavy of its bouncing resonances with a slight jerking effect, creating an imperceptibly spasmodic structure. This structure gives a delightful sense of stumbling and constantly returning to a setting where the cyborgs of Terminator are looking for survivors. And it's not to invite them for dinner 😊! After an atmospheric opening worthy of the ambient style that stretches its charms over a 2-minute distance, Paintings are Subversive hatch a rhythm with graceful movements oscillating between chloroformed layers and synthesized lisping. A rhythmic shadow stands out, giving a very seductive depth to this structure whose rhythm does not prevent a form of meditation. There is a little bit of Black Sabbath, at least this strange introduction to the title The Mob Rules (E5150), in the slow introduction of Soil Invictus which will end up exploiting a finely jerky rhythm structure. The bass line is quite seductive in this track. Too Many Pictures on my Screen is a beautiful and very musical ambient track with scents of celestial trumpets in the synth breezes. @AMBIENT ONLINE 3 ends with the very seductive Visiting the Empty Rooms whose elastic texture of the rhythm makes flee strobes in an essence of the late Edgar. Concluding thus a nice album from Ivan Black which listens very well with the ears carefully wrapped of a good headphone, so to dream the ears connected to vestiges of the past.
Sylvain Lupari (April 30th, 2022) ***¾**
Available at Ivan Black Bandcamp