NUMINA: The Chroma Plateau (2018)
“You have here those soundscapes that will never stop to make grow your thirst of great ambient music”
1 Beaming up the Fossils 6:32 2 Bringer of the Beings 9:13 3 Intergalactic Traveller 5:24 4 Where all the Creatures are Dreaming 8:44 5 Mosaic of Whispers 4:17 6 When the Sea Disappears from me 9:42 7 Sky Descender 6:22 8 Living in the Clouds 11:21 9 The Chroma Plateau 9:10 Spotted Peccary | SPM-3601 (CD/DDL 70:44) (V.F.) (Ambient Music)
I know the music of Numina to have heard a jet in the album Broken Stars Through Brilliant Clouds that he conceived and composed with Zero Ohms in 2015. THE CHROMA PLATEAU is thus his second on Spotted Peccary and his 30th, more or less, since that Dreamsleep appeared on his own label in 2000. Always very comfortable in his Dark Ambient style, the stylist of the sounds from Colorado presents here a rather surprising album of ambient music. Playing on his likely influences of Steve Roach, Robert Rich and Byron Metcalf, Jesse Sola, the man behind Numina, proposes an album which plays on the roles, as cosmic, as ethereal and tribal, with an extraordinary dexterity. In fact, THE CHROMA PLATEAU is one of the rare albums of ambient music to have enchanted me so quickly and by which the level of seduction increases after every new listening. Produced by the label Spotted Peccary, this adventure is carefully presented in a gatefold artwork with all the liner notes, like the times of the vinyl albums, or in high-resolution download. And I was enthralled by this superb album of Numina of which the sound architecture is some pure art for my ears.
The explanation of my charm begins with hollow breezes, and their translucent harmonies sneaking through the cracks of caves, which open the ambient panorama of Beaming up the Fossils. This background of dark hummings, where are fleeing some translucent lines, is the backdrop of most of the titles of this album. Blades of synths are squeaking on a bed of rocks whereas is continuing this loud muted humming where oozes a choir prisoner between diverse strata of rocks. The music has no ages, as much as these chthonian zones which flirt with the vestiges of humanity with misleading colors. The anfractuous darkness of the slow waltzing movements tries to isolate the brightness of the ambiences with these very bewitching synth layers which hum these harmonies of a synth on an evening of apocalypse seen by Vangelis. For an ambient music, the staging of Beaming up the Fossils is totally ear-catchy with its palette of colors which pushes our imagination to invert the roles. Like in Bringer of the Beings and its elements of celestial harmonies which sound so much as those tonalities coming from the Serge Modular and of its uncountable possibilities, both at the level of the harmonies and of the ambient dimension. Here's an awesome and intense title. Intergalactic Traveller comes along with a beautiful movement of a sequencer of which the crystal-clear tones coupled to more discreet shadows sculpture a splendid ambient sequenced ritornello. Clouds of mist, and their beautiful secret impulses, secrete anesthetic drizzle all over these multiple spirals of which the effects of sonic canon sparkle in vapors which are more and more buzzing. It's here that I understood that I had a beautiful little jewel of tones between my hands. Where all the Creatures are Dreaming is a little darker title with luminous streaks which make counterweight. These cracks draw bright effects and the winds which push them transform them into fascinating waves of strange singing scattered in this dense envelope of hollow breezes and of light drones.
Mosaic of Whispers is less dark and proposes a musical approach which reflects very well the sense of its title because we really hear the sound to whisper in a clearly less tense musical mosaic. A nice title ideal for relaxation. When the Sea Disappears from me is in the same vein as Intergalactic Traveller but with a darker tint of the sequencer and a more ethereal envelope weaved around cosmic effects and layers of celestial voices. Sky Descender sneaks in this lot of 9 titles with an ambient tribal approach bound by riffs of guitar and by manual percussions of an aboriginal kind. The influences of Steve Roach and Robert Rich are omnipresent here. Very good! Living in the Clouds is colossal with its procession of knockings which allows us to reach the clouds. Except that here they are slow and immobilized in their membranes of darkness where always spring these epic fights between the luminosity and its contrasts as well as these strange sound murmurs which live throughout the 70 minutes of music here. Let's say that's an intense title with its long circular drones which make us discover a carpet of sounds rich in effects of a parallel universe. The title-track concludes this wonderful Numina album with the same movement of the sequencer which spreads its shadows of charm here with a more vampiric movement. It's love at first sight! And these fascinating voices which pearl with celestial singings through these curtains of drones … A real delight! The best in its kind this year.
Sylvain Lupari (March 23rd, 2018) *****