The Circular Ruins "The Birth Of Tragedy" CDr
DataObscura's driving force Anthony Paul Kerby, aka APK, has returned at the beginning of September 2012 with a brand new offering by one of his projects, The Circular Ruins, entitled "The Birth Of Tragedy". His other two solo projects include Nunc Stans (last album "Peninsula" released in December 2011) and Lammergeyer (last album "Beginning To End" released in May 2009). Anthony Paul Kerby belongs to the most active composers within the ambient genre with over 30 albums on his credit, including some collaborations with artists such as Tomas Weiss, Mystified, Jonathan Block, and Off The Sky. Most of these works were published on his own DataObscura and Blue Oasis labels, a few exceptions include labels like Databloem, Gears Of Sand, In The Bubble Music, Musical Philosophy and Construct.
Okay, let's focus on "The Birth Of Tragedy". The album unfolds with the darker "Setting Out Alone", which takes the listener straight into a misty forest to explore a richly sculpted and ever-changing, slightly dramatic lyrical soundscape, enveloped by hissy breaths. Eerie rumbles navigate "For All Our Days" into a shadowy cave, blessed with spectacular sonic formations, roars and tinkles, and saturated by breathtakingly evocative angelic, nearly sacral choirs, which give to this composition a brand new dimension. This is the longest piece of the journey, clocking to nearly 9 minutes. It's deeply mysterious, yet still safely traversing through gloomy ambient sceneries. Awesome!!! "Simple Truths", on the contrary, is the shortest composition, and moves to more minimal and mournful terrains. "The Birth Of Tragedy", the title track, gets back into a droning path, colored with piano fragments, evoking sadly beautiful nostalgic memories and again submerged into abandoned subterranean spaces. "Displaced" consists of 4 parts, clocking between 4.5 and 8 minutes. Part 1 is more static, droney, glitchy, painting stunningly panoramic landscapes, always flickeringly evolving and warmly expanding into deeply immersing and richly intense cinematic aural bliss, wow!!! This distinctive sonic pleasure continues also throughout Part 2, on which some piano parts step in to reach a slightly more relieving phase, those hissy sounds are less intense, although there is a lot of happening on the background. This is certainly another exquisitely layered composition showcasing APK's wizardry for sound sculpting, where he is not afraid of using a broad palette of catchy colors. And these colors keep on spreading, because Part 3 attractively merges windy drones with sorrowful cello sounds and cavernous rumbles. Some strange voices appear on the back, and hissing noise is again more apparent. Another winner!!! Part 4 attracts at the beginning with hints of gently tinkling tribals, soon followed by rather rougher dronewalls, again hazed throughout by various glitches, cicadas and distant sound effects and outbursts, and closing with crystalline tinkles. Sonic adventure at its most intricate!!! The next piece, "Gathering Lost Things", continues without hissy blankets, but with a slightly more experimental, mechanized touch, immersed into subterranean mysteries. "Q.E.D." dives straight into pulsing, high-tech dreamy sequencer-driven terrains, beautifully melodic and majestically expanding, mingled with sharper mechanized clacks and occasionally enriched with voice samples and rawer swirls. After nearly 9 minutes it brings the album safely to its finale. APK has ventured with "The Birth Of Tragedy" into a wide variety of textures, and on first listening it might be a bit disrupting, but repeated explorations reveal, surprisingly enough, continuity in APK's sonic reflections. Constantly filled with a quite innovative approach, never boring, and always fully entertaining, adventurous and absorbing, "The Birth Of Tragedy" will for sure please all followers of DataObscura, or all of you who enjoy trips into uncharted territories.
Richard Gürtler (Nov 18, 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia)