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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

VENJA: Galactic Underground Volume 2 (2020)

Updated: May 22, 2020

Venja's cinematic vision gives depth to this album with so much details in ambiences so that each title here is beautifully set into music

1 Out f Control 6:54

2 Darkness (Michael Stearns) 2:28

3 Daikanyama Part 1 (Nyoko Mizuki) 4:21

4 Daikanyama Part 2 (Nyoko Mizuki) 4:46

5 The Stars Are Better Off Without Us 6:55

6 The Lunar Colony 2:49

7 Annihilation 3:40

8 Glitched 3:01

9 Crossing Icy Moons (Michael Stearns) 5:41

10 Event Horizon 5:31

11 Awe 8:13 vidéo

12 Novae Terrae (Erik Wøllo) 7:46

13 Dimittere 7:14

(CD/DDL 69:24) (V.F.)

(Cinema & Dark Ambient)

You can't survive an album as big as <GU> without leaving feathers somewhere. And the best way to do this is to travel within new horizons. Without saying that Venja has snobbed and turned his back to this album, he has created in GALACTIC UNDERGROUND Volume 2 a music with an incredible cinematic reach. Such as Vangelis did with his Blade Runner. The tone is extremely powerful with a recording volume really high and loud compared to the average, thus having an immediate impact in our ears.

It's in a zone of Industrial Ambient textures that Out f Control seizes of our ears. A timid wave coming from the West takes on the appearance of a lament in a context of earthly devastation. The wave multiplies a double. Together, they form two large, bodyless wings from which an aerial voice rises narrating what our ears have grasped. Pulses full of percussions are falling with a deadly heaviness. It seems that each blow propels reverberating waves and synthesized spirals in a heavy ambience like the end of the world. Darkness follows with the same vision. Explosions and floating synth waves set the scene for the poem, recited by Michael Stearns, Darkness from Lord Byron. The Daikanyama section fiercely opposed all the respect I have for Johan Geens' works. The music is really good with a dark shadow floating in a Milky Way that stars and cosmic particles transpierce. The problem is the voice of Nyoko Mizuki! So pretty at first, it sinks into an area of distortion that annoys. The music? Inspired by this Japanese megaproject after the terrible earthquake of 1924, the Great Kanto, to rebuild a city of apartments in a city, it takes off by multiplying reverberating waves which transform into spirals. Propelling themselves with metallic rattles, these big kaleidoscopes come and go, go up and down, like destructive wings with more and more insistence. Especially when this percussion-pulsation tandem activates the velocity of this ambient rhythm which is powered by this exchange between waves and spirals of synths. So, without an infectious beat and frozen in a sci-fi setting, Daikanyama Part 1 is as hypnotic as its minimalist zone. The music, and its big spirals of a time-sucking machine, accentuates its presence in a crazy cacophonic phase on Daikanyama Part 2. A cacophony that quickly regains its senses in a big intense moment that spits out some really good ambient music filled of intimidating curls which go up and down, always accentuating their threats, before cooling its suction power in an ambient finale. We quickly forget the off-screen voice of Nyoko Mizuki! A video of this title can be seen on the Bandcamp site in Venja, along with a video of Crossing Icy Moons. When I talk about sound power, The Stars Are Better Off Without Us is a good example. Title animated by synth implosions dependent on an organic fauna, its large wings cover us of a dark presence that make the first chthonian embraces of EM of the 70's go fade. A title having a strong presence in decibels, The Stars Are Better Off Without Us is strongly influenced by Steve Roach's Pacific School, the Immersion section.

The Lunar Colony is the Mexican penchant to Darkness. Its last explosion leads it to the gates of Annihilation, which needs no explanation. The ambient music is dark and causes a cloud of particles (radioactive?) in an intense atmospheric thrust which corresponds to the definition of its title. We hear Spanish voices in this big cloud not reassuring for two cents! Increasingly accentuating this perception of music from science-fiction films about the destruction of our planet, Glitched tries to establish a dialogue with an unknown race through large loops of oscillations and glaucous reverberations. Sancho go get the gun! If you have the impression of hearing a section of Chronos with Crossing Icy Moons, tell yourself that it's normal since Michael Stearns uses his mega The Beam and other synths on this cosmic-ambient title where we drift like souls in a finale enlivened by aboriginal percussions and tom-toms. Intense with this core of resonant hums which come and go in a structure to hypnotize the last elephants, Event Horizon imposes with its heavy ambient presence. An atmospheric heaviness letting slip a translucent line which will make contrast throughout its 5 minutes and more. The ears still buzz when Event Horizon takes refuge in a long phase of tranquility. As long that we think another title is playing! Awe is a gem! We are reaching GALACTIC UNDERGROUND Volume 2's pinnacle with this superb ambient title and these warm waves which float in schools on a distant organic fauna. The sequencer activates a phase of rhythm which waddles and jumps from one step to the next and from one ear to the other, modifying the nature of the waves which extend like layers which surround this magnificent choreography of the sequencer. It's a kind of crossover between the rhythm sessions of Richard Pinhas, in his East/West to L'Éthique phase, and some huge Steve Roach's schools of floating and sleepy wadding. We put Erik Wollo in it, and it gives this wonderful Awe. So much, that I thought it was the title made with Erik Wollo. But no, Novae Terrae is this title! It follows somewhat the same structure but passes through a sparkling stream of limpid arpeggios which imitates the fluidity of a sequencer while the guitar swaps its acoustic side for really good solos as bright as this shimmering chant of the stream. If we remember, <GU> offered a bonus title if we chose the download option. This is also the case with Dimittere, a serene title which follows the path traced by Awe. Here, these are guitar chords which roll in loops and sing in symbiosis with these hypnotic curls which dominate the charms of an album as powerful, I would even say more, than <GU>.

Superb from start to end, even with the voice of Nyoko Mizuki that I learned to appreciate after a few listenings, GALACTIC UNDERGROUND Volume 2 is a worthy successor to <GU>. Venja's cinematic vision gives depth to this album whose vision of planetary disaster is more than detailed in ambiences that correspond to each title of this story beautifully set into music. Available as an HQ download, Venja has a limited number of manufactured CD's of made, which comes in another beautiful six-panel digipack sleeve containing album's information. An excellent one that doesn't require too much effort to seduce!

Sylvain Lupari (May 22nd, 2020) *****

Available at Venja Music

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