Amongst Myselves "The Past Is Another Country" CDr
Behind this Australian project, based in Blackwood, suburb of Adelaide, is hidden Steve Roberts, who is releasing his soundworlds since 2001. "The Past Is Another Country" is his 7th full length album, which was self-released in the middle of October 2014 as a standard jewel case edition with 4-panel front insert and transparent tray. The seven tracks for this album were created between March 2011 and April 2014, and as usual for latest releases of Amongst Myselves, the cover images are quite sparse and abstract.
The 6-minute starter and title track "The Past Is Another Country" tranquilly drifts and meanders into gorgeously expansive panoramas reinforced by strongly embracing cinematic crescendos with deeply introspective drone surges. Lush environmental sounds diffuse toward the end and carry the fading drone blankets into the infinite serenity. A very nice, refreshing intro!!! The following cut, "Dark Places, Winter Shadows", clocks over 11 minutes and dives straightly, as displayed by its title, into shadowy terrains, although leaded at the very beginning by some chirping birds. It's precisely spiced by assorted glitchy infusions, phantasmal choirs, voice transmissions and other weird fragments, at times quite mind-bendingly transporting, and eerie rumbles, all mysteriously echoed. A truly significant departure from the longing sceneries of the opening composition. But still a very strong one!!! "He Who Bathes In The Black Sun" remains, no surprisingly, in heavier, perplexing terrains, sculpted with undulating dronescaping spirals, which are bridged with occasional urban noises and vague industrial machineries. Slowly reaching shadowy climax, before relievedly vanishing into the void. "Cave Of The Swimmers" is by far more cacophonous, with all its hummed winds, noisy fragments, piercing outbursts, weird rumbles, bleeps and chitters, yet at some stages rather minimal, but certainly unsettlingly engrossing soundcollage. And obviously quite nuts driving when reaching the dark unfathomed sceneries with your headphones on. "The Day The Crickets Listened" sounds definitely relieving, the light quietly penetrates through the obscure realms and the listener mostly explores hauntingly embracing friction of ear-tickling electric stringed escapades and poetic images of acoustic riffs. Uniquely sculpted and stunningly evocative composition, certainly one of the highlights of this album, bravo!!! "Campfires Of The Night Sky" attracts immediately with its serenely expansive mixture of heavenly drifts, beautifully waving, and warmly flickering guitar subtleties with other delightful shatters discreetly thrown in. Thus a truly magical sonic elixir is delivered here by Amongst Myselves!!! Nearly 13-minute "In My Depths, All Treasure Dwells" closes the journey with magnificently graceful drone, augmented by spellbinding hums, monumental culminations and glistening tinkles. The circle has closed, a very gratifying and intense finale indeed!!!
The album might sound a bit fragmented during the first explorations, but repeated, deeply attentive listening sessions reveal all the beauty of these distinctive soundsculptings, which are always glowing and adventurous with lots of hidden, precisely detailed sonic wonders. Actually much more compact than I have ever imagined and even if presented as rather darkly infused ambience, to me, "The Past Is Another Country" album tightly hangs in the enigmatic fissures between ambient and dark ambient terrains. A strongly challenging recording by this Aussie, which definitely deserves to be fully explored and experienced!!! The album is dedicated to the iconic German sound experimenter Conrad Schnitzler. Well accomplished, Steve Roberts/Amongst Myselves!!!
Richard Gürtler (Dec 27, 2014, Bratislava, Slovakia)