Mathias Grassow "AeroAreA" 4xCD
"AeroAreA" is a monster 4CD Set by Mathias Grassow, released during July 2015 on prolific Russian GS Productions label in limited edition of 100 copies. This Moscow based label mainly focuses on styles such as black metal, doom metal, death metal, trash metal, viking metal, post rock, neofolk..., but fortunately these guys seem to be really fascinated also by ultra deep soundworlds by one of the true purveyors of the genre. So Mathias Grassow is back with his third installment for GS Productions, after two gorgeous 6-panel digipaks from 2014, "Opus Posthumum" and "Harmonia Mundi", the Drone King offers to his aficionados another true gem. "AeroAreA" comes in old-styled 4CD jewel case with transparent trays and additional 8-panel foldout insert, while the front and back side inserts feature an interview with the Master. Such articles are rather rare when it goes to Mathias Grassow, so it's always nice to dive deeply into these soulfully fascinating inner zones.
Disc 1 ignites the journey with 65-minute long-form dronescape "Celestial Oasis". It's quite obvious the track title precisely reflects the expectations of each devoted drone connoisseur. Actually, there are two parts, although not indexed, the first part starts with monochromatic drone insignias, smoothly elevating and culminating, which after about 10 minutes surreptitiously transmute into heavenly multidimensional graciousness with additionally permeating ethereal choir-like drone layer. A truly grandiose, jaw-dropping listening experience is fully unfolded and the listener enters an oasis of magnificently transcendental droneforging. Only 13 minutes are gone and I am absolutely hooked by this enigmatic nothingness. Sure, even though this scenario doesn't reach any new frontiers, I am always and forever will be deeply immersed by devastating immenseness of Mathias Grassow's dronesculptings. This first part of "Celestial Oasis" certainly reaches these pinnacling moments, a 21 minutes of pure aural bliss!!! Second part moves towards cyclically roaring wistfulness, with slightly less tension, but over the course mysteriously intangible chants emerge from mesmerizing depths and tranquilly guide the texture through intricately sinuous magnitudes, perpetually enrapturing and showcasing Mathias Grassow at the vertex of his profound sonic meditations!!! Later on an auxiliary ear-tickling dissonances intensify this hypnotically quintessential dronescape. More please!!!
Disc 2 unveils with a 58-minute composition entitled "The Spacelight". It drifts very quietly, through static terrains, but after about 4 minutes elusive tribal groove clandestinely arises and tries to break though flatlined foreground, but it serenely evanesces and the gliding expanse persistently blossoms and gains exquisitely staggering drone spectrum, yet spellbindingly monochromous. In the meantime subtle pulses reawake, but sturdy drone walls keep them away in impalpably mesmeric distance. Then the intensity calmly diminuendoes, while distant pulsations again resurrect and counterpoint with ephemeral sound issue. But the drone magma invades once more and shifts the whole piece into massively enveloping spheres with disastrous thickness, a journey through utterly delightful monolithic stratum holding unmistakable audible insignias of the Drone Kaiser. Still monochromatic, yet vigorously undulating spectacle towards the end meticulously amalgamates with ear-piercing outbursts, cascades through adventurous terrains and then soothingly fades away into the void. Definitely a truly mind-blowing odyssey!!!
Disc 3, entitled "The Ancient Artefact", is divided in three parts. 50 minute "Premonition" dives straightly into perplexingly primordial depths. Transient groans and ghostly choirs insistently guard above, while hazy grooves and solitary primeval rumbles occasionally permeate through monstrously escalating and thrillingly engulfing stratum. Oracular choir-like drones inconspicuously transmute into gracefully embracing ethereal chants. Drifting, surging, sinuating, resurrecting, crescendoing, climaxing and burning. A true inferno of magmatic hums, revealing some of the most nebulous inner realms by this German drone shaman!!! The second part, "The Radiant Focus", safely keeps the path of its predecessor, a heavyweight sonic spectacle is stretched to extra 10 minutes, while the final four and half minute part "The Echo" closes this magnifying ride with more relieving ephemera, but soon powerfully ear-blowing reverberations invade and steal the center stage for devastating conclusion. Organic fragments fugaciously ascend along with phantoms hanging above and whispering through vast emptiness. A real battle between quiescent earmarks and staggering meridians, frankly, this Drone Pantheon delivers a huge dose of tranquilizers!!!
Disc 4 introduces 60-minute "Above The Karman Line", which evolves with statically oscillating surface, slowly progressing and amalgamating with contemplatively shimmering chime-like dissonances on the background, persistently reappearing and tickling focused ears of each journeyer. Intensely gliding soundscape calmly moves through various expansive plateaus, regardless of its heavily flatlined scenario. Again masterfully layered and stunningly magnified by enigmatically encircling choir imageries, which relentlessly coalesce with tinkling subtleties. Evanescing after 23 minutes and smoothly transmogrifying into slightly more tight, delicately disruptive mindscape. Yet still powerfully transporting through infinite emptiness, where is magnificently exhibited equilibrium between thermospheric light filigrees and exospheric dark sonorousness. Monochromatic poignancy at its most polychromatic!!! Indeed, this composition is a very strong conclusion of this 4CD celebration, which intricately expresses a gamut of distinguishing dronescaping visions Made in Mathias Grassow. Bravo, Maestro!!!
Huge kudos to Mathias, Vitaly/Виталик of GS Productions and 121 for mastering, keep on going, guys!!! And additional praise to GS Productions for a glass mastered format, even if released in smaller limited runs of 100 copies. There is only one thing I would improve next time, when releasing multiple CD project like this. Nowadays jewel cases are really light, so with this kind of CD edition you might run into some troubles during the shipping and it's rather difficult to locate spare multi CD jewel cases. An 8-panel 4CD digipak or eco wallet might solve this problem, although I understand it will require much bigger budget. For me, above mentioned "Opus Posthumum" and "Harmonia Mundi" packagings are the way to go. Otherwise, a top-notch, all-inclusive recording from one of the most productive giants on the drone ambient scene. Just make sure to ask for extra wrapping when ordering a physical copy. "AeroAreA" 4CD is undoubtedly an essential item for all followers of Mathias Grassow and a very nice starting point for possible newcomers out there, who are not afraid of exploring multifariously fragranced transcendental monochromatism by a stalwart dronesculptor, whose terrific recording career spans across four decades. I still deeply treasure those exciting moments when encountering "In Search Of Sanity" CD back in the middle of the 90's. And by the way, there are rumors about another rare albums by Mathias Grassow, which might be scheduled on GS Productions and reissued on CD formats, namely "The Darklight Quest" and "Untitled Rooms", which used to be available only as CDr editions long time ago. Stay tuned, the odyssey still continues...
Richard Gürtler (Dec 12, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)