A review from Sylvain Lupari
This Desolate Place
A long hollow breath emerges from a black Earth. We hear thunders scold. Or is it splinters of explosions which cover a somber musical sky? The imagination without borders belongs to those who draw to the bottom of the cerebral cortex to harmonize their visions to the one of Phobos who signs in “This Desolate Place” a heavy and dark ambient album. EM composer from the beginning of the 90’s, David Thompson made the transition between a melodic and sequenced EM (Approaching the Light in 91 and A Rainbow’s End in 92) and a dark ambient EM after a break of 9 years in making music. It’s during this break that he discovered the music of Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Oophoi and Stephen Philips. Artists who had the effect of reviving David Thompson's creative flame, which borrows from now on the name of Phobos, to deliver extremely ambient works with smells of chthonian sulfur. And “This Desolate Place” is sticking to the new influences of the English synthesist, with deep and invasive oblong layers of a black synth which scatters its sepulchral breaths among angelic lights creating a captivating mixture. If one asks the question in order to know if ambient EM has something new to bring, each case must be analyzed in a different way. Here, Phobos multiplies the waves of synth which hoot with a strange neurasthenic passion. A little as if the Earth was destroyed and that we regret its vestiges through the dark shadows which float as some incantatory regrets. And it's there that the beauty of this completely floating work lies; we see what we hear! Throughout the 68 minutes that “This Desolate Place” lasts, the auditor is submerged by a black world which breathes through deep polymorphic strata of an intensely dark synth. Certainly, there are some fine bright cracks. But they spring out to make us better seize all of the tenebrous extent of a universe without pulses. A universe musically dead where soundscapes are roaring in their slain awakenings to offer darker landscapes, even more darkened by the slow avenging fury of the synth blades which come down on a world covered with a metallic drizzle.
And I guaranteed you that Phobos’ tetanised musical journey takes a wrapping effect of morose submersion when we let yourself invade with a pair of earphones. And no, ambient EM is not dead! As long as artists such as Phobos start proceeding a pessimistic recourse on the future of our planet, it’s in good hands.
gutsofdarkness.com & synth&sequences.com