« on: January 26, 2012, 11:35:20 AM »
This album, self-released by Perceptual Defence (aka Italian synthesist Gabriele Quirici) in 2011, is just one part of an 8-disc series inspired by the Hieronymus Bosch painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights." Quirici produces a brand of electronic music that is decidedly experimental, definitely ambient (headphones listening recommended to get all the details), somewhat "lo-fi" (it's not a huge sound with gigantic reverbs like Steve Roach), and often quirky and playful, yet in a psychedelic way. Drone passages are interspersed with weird sequencer patterns (this is not Berlin School mind you) to concoct a heady brew. Quirici has previously released a couple full-length albums previously on Oophoi's Umbra Records, and several solo and collaborative e.p.'s on Penumbra as well. His Facebook page lists his influences as including Robert Rich, Steve Roach, and Zoviet France. To me the ZF influence seems most prominent based on its kind of lo-fi experimentalism with more quiet microsounds. Anways, back to "Hieros Gamos." The disc is split between two long tracks. "Hieros Gamos 1" starts off with some really pretty dark atmospheric drone soundscapes and we are in Oophoi territory here. Heavily reverbed rainsticks echo in the background, followed by what sound like heavily processed didgeridoo samples. This is spooky and surreal stuff, and very dreamlike. Some chiming bell sounds then come in, followed by some industrial-tinged whooshes and electronic bleeps. About halfway through this long 48-minute opus the dark ambient drones fade away and the tracks morphs into a quite upbeat, kaleidoscopic and playful series of dancing sequencers, horn sounds (albeit synthesized), and looped percussion. The second track, at 20:00 long, follows a similar path; atmospheric at first, morphing into more active sequencer territory. I would recommend this album to fans of the Umbra/Penumbra label and Alio Die's sublabel Sempiterna Mutatio, but I don't think it's for everyone. Sometimes the quirky factor overshadows the more drone based soundscapes and the music can become rather bizarre. I'm also not sure you need all eight (!) of these albums. I have a couple others in the series and they seem very similar to this one.