SCREENER: Ataraxia (2020)
Updated: Mar 22
“For a newcomer, Screener surprises by his dexterity to build layer of ambiances in an album made to charm and to trouble a bit”
1 Sentrifuga 4:49
2 Kedos 8:20
3 Residential 10:01
4 Branta 6:30
5 Brevard 4:45
6 Promethium 4:15
7 Atticus 7:29
(DDL 46:12) (V.F.)
(Dark Ambient, drones, melodious)
An angelic blue layer welcomes a bunch of chords from a thoughtful electric guitar as the opening of Sentrifugia. The movement is as quiet as a gaze from the top of a mountain, seeing everything without focusing on anything. Modulations, woven in subtlety, simulate impulses but above all grant to this encompassing landscape a level of emotionality that only drifting souls can feel all along their skin. In addition of doing Berlin School, cosmic and progressive EM, the Cyclical Dreams label also does in the ambient melodious style, as disturbing. Very disturbing even! A progressive New Age style where music serves the senses and the chills. Screener is a project of an artist that does a lot of things, Edmund Osterman from Cincinati, Ohio. Actor, humorist, documentary filmmaker, screenwriter and musician. He is also a member of the experimental music duo Home Learning, whose visions he shares with those of another artist from the Argentinian label, Tom Schmidlin aka Pagination. I also started to tame his Dark Ambient style from his album For Why and which my review is due soon. But back to the music of ATARAXIA, which means; to be in a state of deep stillness, arising from the absence of any trouble or pain. And it should be mentioned that Screener has hit the nail on the head here! Kedos follows with this musical wave of azure color which this time welcomes the tears of an electric guitar rubbed with an Ebow. The signal is then passed through a vibrato pedal and a reverb effect. The sound is fascinating with its melancholy whispers. We often hear it in the album with a harmonizing effect. I told myself that there was a bit of Robert Rich in this album…The movement is of an exquisite serenity to bring us to the gates of astral drift, while the beauty of Kedos is lying on this layer by the presence of arpeggios whose random flow chases away these strong breaths of the drones which have infiltrated the ambiences. Drones sometimes musical or intimidating of false rage, especially at the very end of Kedos. Residential takes what is the most beautiful in Kedos to extend it in a sublime mosaic of serenity where the piano notes dance with their shadows on one of the beautiful moments of serenity that I have heard this year.
Branta reminds us that Edmund Osterman likes the experimental side with the Home Learning project. Here is a dark minimalist title with an ambience of not dragging around alone at night and which is filled with friction, false beatings, misshapen tears which stick together in spectral whining. There is also a sub-noisy fauna in this dark music. In short, the whole side of fear is gathered around the random bursts of a musical pearl leaping from the very beginning in this paranormal setting. This pearl, especially its echo, will also shine in Brevard's overture. This succulent electronic ballad offers chords imitating the sound of a harp that graceful fingers pluck in an ascending ritornello that seeks to flee from the muffled beats. The shadows of these beats, as well as the synth groans, awaken the memory that this superb electronic ballad was preceded by the sordid ambiences of Branta. In fact, we are in the most sibylline ambiences of ATARAXIA. And it is not this fall in the abyss of Promethium that will prove us the opposite. The dominate winds are howling in this universe of perdition which brings us to Atticus and its London decor under a rain in a night complicit in darkness. The synth weaves dark chants where the word sadness must be reinvented. A blue glow begins to sparkle and flirt with this dark song of the shadows, thus bringing back this desire to hear Sentrifugia again and thus write another story about an album that knows very well how to navigate between two universes that feed on their reflections, of these imperceptible threads which must at least establish this contact between our two realities.
More beautiful than dark, more musical than experimental, ATARAXIA shows all the potential of Cyclical Dreams to make discover the vast expanse of EM art. There is a lot of potential on this first Screener album. The length of time, barely 46 minutes, is also very important for an album of this kind where the EM of Edmund Osterman is at the service of the art.
Sylvain Lupari (March 21st, 2021) *****
Available at Cyclical Dreams Bandcamp