Paul Vnuk Jr. + Oophoi - Distance to Zero
Artist: Paul Vnuk Jr. + Oophoi
Title: Distance to Zero
2006. This recording works in roughly the same "slow drone" territory explored by Vnuk and Oophoi on their solo Hypnos releases, Silence Speaks in Shadows and Athlit, respectively. At the same time, it has a different sonic character, at times slow and dark and smooth, but at other moments bright and modern and metallic. Distance to Zero could fairly be described as some of the most daring and experimental work by either artist... a true surprise to these ears when the demo arrived here at Hypnos HQ. It definitely has an "edge" to it, though it's still definitely easy and smooth listening. I have no doubt this will be a much-loved and much-discussed Hypnos release, and a significant milestone in the discography of both Vnuk and Oophoi. Vnuk's Silence Speaks in Shadows and Oophoi's Athlit are two of the best-loved releases on Hypnos, and now these two great artists have combined their creative and sound-sculpting powers for a new work!
Track list with MP3 samples:
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Reviews"...a recording that might well be described as more exploratory work by established artists is Distance to Zero, a collab between old hands Paul Vnuk Jr. + Oöphoi that crept out late in ‘06. And crept is an apt word, for this is a surprisingly creepy set. They operate in similar slow drone territory to their last solo Hypnos releases, Silence Speaks in Shadows and Athlit, respectively. Yet their communion results in a work with a quite esoteric sonic character. More arcane and less harmonically resolved than anything Vnuk has done, and near the netherworld lights at the end of Oöphoi’s world, it definitely has a spooky eldritch undertow to it, especially on the unsettling opener, “Distance to Zero I.” “Distance to Zero II” contains recognizable elements of their individual work, notably Gasparetti’s palaeontology with Tau Ceti on Subterranea, evidenced in some trademark suspended bowl-sounds and steepling toneclouds, atavistic rumblings and abyss-hinting upsurges. This is well augmented by Vnuk’s orchestrations of the peripheral familiar from Silence Speaks, dwelling at the threshhold of static sub-vocal drone-float while channelling some eerie chthonics. The sound architecture is certainly denser and chewier than most of Oöphoi’s recent discs, and more timbrally varied, with Vnuk’s influence also apparent in the static grain that occasionally creeps in at the outer limits. Smooth but smudged, with hints of a processed distillate of metal machine music, Distance to Zero evolves weightily but actively, offering a sustaining richness of texture. Do not think of filing anywhere near “new age,” or even “ethereal.” Maybe under “atmospheric electronic” with a touch of “earthen” edge."
--Reviewed by Alan Lockett for ei-mag.com
"Hypnos has been much quieter these past couple of years, but when they do release a CD the quality remains quite high. The signature minimal ambient sound of the label is evident on Distance to Zero. Low drones pulse in and out to begin. Some dissonant elements are laid over the top for an eerie effect. The way the music breathes slowly in and out reminds me of another Hypnos release, Tom Heasley’s Where the Earth Meets the Sky. Ambient in the truest sense, this music floats about restlessly, aimlessly, with no hint of rhythm or melody. Abstract sounds are used to their full potential in the subtlest of ways. The sounds become rough and gritty as it flows from the first to the second movement, which rings out with resonant metallic sounds, seeming to reverberate forever. The sounds become darker and more intense. As the disc makes its way from part two to part four (part three apparently didn’t make the cut), the long slow fade of one moves right into a deep bass tone. At normal volume it isn’t all that extraordinary, but I had turned it up to hear the subtleties in the quieter part, and found my stomach in my throat for just a moment there at the transition point. Easily the brightest of the three sections, gentle bells feature prominently here, along with those aforementioned low muffled booming sounds. It is not uncommon for minimal ambient works to include a long slow fade, and this one is exceptional in its patient denouement. Distance to Zero is first-rate adventurous ambience."
--Reviewed by Phil Derby, Electroambientspace.com