STRATOSPHERE: Rise (2016)
“Rise follows the paths of Aftermath but with a little more movements in some ambient beats delicioulsy created by lazy fingers on a bass”
1 Melancholy 9:25 2 Dream 8:13 3 Hypnotic 8:48 4 Enmity 8:43 5 Desolation 8:20 6 Duality 8:27 7 Explore 8:06
(CD/DDL 60:05) (V.F.) (Dark ambient with guitar drones)
A long humming come by far drops a translucent line which meditates on the atmospheres of Melancholy. The snores of the bass become a shape of ambient rhythm, a walking for damned, where roam and cry a six-strings which sculpt the same soundscapes of opaque and intrusive ambient music. A guitar which scatters a kind of spectral melody which is as much heavy as the sorrows of my adolescence. According to the curves of a music built on the multi layers of drones to the colors of a rainbow shinning under a sky of fire, RISE is no more and no less the answer of Stratosphere to its previous album Aftermath. Even if everything is always so heavy, we feel that the Belgian guitarist Ronald Mariën lives some happier moments. Happier because the music breathes by fascinating and captivating ghost melodies which rage and play the troublemakers on a perpetual thick cloud of drones with the outlines radiating of contrasting luminosity. There are lots of shrill colors on this album which glitter between our ears. First of all, RISE beats by the delicate measures of a rather elastic bass line. One would say a fusion between Dirk Serries, who mastered the album, and the guitar of Stratosphere.
Like in Dream where his lazy fingers congeal a floating rhythm where are caressing the superimposed harmonies of an electric six-strings and the delicate riffs of an acoustic guitar. Here, as all over the album, a heap of lines with clear-dark colors wrap this melody which flows like a dream. Dramatic effects are inserted here and there, giving a more penetrating dimension to the track. I quite enjoyed this track! Duality is in the same style but with more colors in the tones. Hypnotic is the darkest track here. The drones are more compact and smother this melody which tears its guts in the razor blades of the drones. Chthonian and disturbing! All the opposite of Enmity where sleeps a very nice melody, we found it after 2 or 3 listening, on sibylline layers which float like the caresses of a hand over our soul. The bass is structuring an envelope of ambient beat of which the progression adopts the curve of the guitar layers in a duel between darkness and luminosity. It's also a track which disturbs, but not for the same reasons as Hypnotic. It's very good. What fascinates is this constant presence of structures of rhythms as heavy as an ascent of a mountain with a backpack loaded of rocks. That transcends the structures of usual ambient soundscapes. As in Desolation where the bass feeds the wrath of a raging guitar, but always ambient, under this sonic sky which is covered of translucent drones. A title a little less difficult than Hypnotic but which stays in the same vein. Explore ends this 3rd opus of Stratosphere with a wall of lines and of very compact reverberations which leave little space, and luck, to this kind of ghostly melody of which the breezes whistle without really reaching a point of explosion.
Roughly, RISE follows the traces of Aftermath but with a little more of movement in the panoramas of reverberations and the multi layers of guitars dressed in the tones and the colors of synthesizer. It always remains a music of heavy and dark ambiences where breathe a life of harmonies chiseled in the shadows of the ghosts.
Sylvain Lupari (April 20th, 2016) ***½**
Available at Projekt Records Bandcamp