A busy release schedule for Strom Noir's Emil Maťko, who has released four EP's during the last six months, and culminated in March when his debut work for sympathetic Canadian label DataObscura became a reality. Since we are country mates, for me it is a little miracle seeing this Slovak drone ambient project released on the consistently productive DataObscura label ... my dreams definitely came true!!! The first release outside Europe for Strom Noir as well. The album unfolds with motionlessly flowing looped drones on "Poppy Seeds", presenting Strom Noir at its most serene!!! The title composition "Standing Out Against The Sea" moves towards more typical guitar-based soundscaping, with a stronger acoustic feel and a repetitive, slightly more melodic structure enriched later by harsher hissed soundwalls and natural sounds, but always keeping within the signature of Strom Noir. This composition showcases a precise synergy and balance between fragile, melancholic warmness and louder, more massive passages. "In All The Wrong Places" begins with deeper, slow-motion drones, which fleetly shift into gradually progressing, intense and interplaying cascades covered by misty hiss. This richly sculpted and deeply evocative masterpiece holds all the finest "Made by Strom Noir" essences!!! The monotonously spiraling, but shimmeringly exquisite drones of "The Passage Of Truth" move again through multi-dimensional passages, backed by catchy voice-like sounds. The next composition, "Rearviewmirror", slips into a rather rawer, exotically sounding adventure, with distinctive sounds and intense, expressive strings. An all-inclusive piece with a deeply stirring and mesmerizing effect. Certainly another highlight on this highly challenging ride!!! "Digital Saturn" glides through more aerial, tranquilly soothing spaces with a slowly expanding structure, becoming more massive and profound, and always strongly imaginative. "Haanah" is dominated by heavier, repetitive drone, and colored by some distant rumblings at the back. The overall feel of this track is quite monumental, nearly mind-bending. By the way, "Haanah" also features the Fujara, a traditional folk flute of Slovak shepherds, but it's hardly recognizable throughout the piece. "Kalimagdora" quickly brings the album back into a warmly inviting blend of tender acoustics and cheerful organics crossed with nostalgic glitches, and allows the listener to float smoothly in a state of being deeply relaxed. Beautifully captivating closer!!! "Standing Out Against The Sea" is filled with sensitivity, richness and poignancy, it must be experienced to be appreciated!!! I am so proud to know this wonderful and talented artist!!!
Richard Gürtler (April 08, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)