Heliopause (def.): "The area in which the outgoing solar wind and the incoming plasma from interstellar space meet. It is the boundary of our solar system."
Swedish composer Gustaf Hildebrand, active since 2000, bases his latest dark ambient opus, released in 2012 on Canada's Cyclic Law, on this astronomical region. This is not surprising considering he credits "astronomy" as his primary artistic influence. "Heliopause" consists of nine soundscapes and is presented in an attractive digipak. The album is actually Hildebrand's second "dark space music" concept album, the first being 2004's "Starscape," also released on Cyclic Law. On that rather claustrophobic album, Hildebrand painted vivid, stark scenery of space as a quite desolate and unfriendly place, full of ominous rumbles, cold drifts, and black infinity.
"Heliopause" is a more varied and active affair, incorporating echoed, distorted human voices in radio transmissions through the void, bleeping satellite and spacecraft sounds, massive electronic whooshes approximating the solar wind, ominous synth drones, heavily reverberated Tibetan chanting, and various spoken word samples. A sense of nervous foreboding permeates the album; one experiences the sensation that they're on the edge of an abyss and it is too late to turn back. But I must say, it is nevertheless a thrilling trip through most of this fascinating journey. There are many quite stunning moments, both cinematic and dramatic, interspersed with some decidedly noisy/grating sections, giving the music at times a very experimental/industrial feel. "Heliopause" doesn't lull you to sleep with gentle dreams of space but rather jars your senses into awareness. For the most part, the album will satisfy space-ambient purists, while also pleasing the noise-drone-coldwave crowd. Simply put, "Heliopause" is another dark ambient gem for the wonderful Cyclic Law!!