CD: Sentinel-CD-01 [2005]

Radiation Amplifier (MP3)
The New Old Sentinel
Light Frequency Overdose
Voltaic Planet

There was a time when I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about music. You could say I was a cocky fuck who had the answers to all the questions. Name a group…any group…and I would triumphantly give a spiel before pulling out at least one of their recordings. Cocky wasn’t the half of it. Then I started reviewing for AP and suddenly I’m starting to feel very inadequate. My self believed knowledge isn’t so hot after all. On reflection I know very little. I’m a sham. An impersonator bluffing his way through reviews. Knocking my deflated ego down another peg is this latest release from Cloama. Dumb ass here thought this was a debut recording but researching revealed that this act has been around since 1997. Nineteen fucking ninety seven!! And I had never heard of them!! Delving deeper only made me sicker. Between singles, cassettes, LP and CDs there has been a total of 14 releases put out under the Cloama name. Fourteen!! That’s not even including the compilations that tracks have appeared on. If it wasn’t for the fact that this event keeps reoccurring regularly I would have cried tears of self pity.

On the plus side though this non-knowledge could work in my favour. Having no preconceptions sometimes works best from a reviewing point of view. From what I’ve managed to dig up Cloama recordings were, in the main, of the Death / Noise Industrial genre. Although having just written that I fully expect an e.mail from him / them expressing indignation at this bold assumption. You wouldn’t believe how many slaps on the wrist I’ve received from foaming mouthed artists.

This recording, marking a debut for artist / group on the New Old Sentinel label and for the label itself, is five tracks of experimental ambient music limited to 500 copies. Experimental ambient. Two words guaranteed to send most people running off in sheer apoplectic fright. The fear of the unknown. Ambient in all its forms they can cope with but…‘experimental’…too weird. Too challenging. Never assume. On this recording the balance between the differing genres has been implemented in such a seamless and gratifying manner that its only when the recording has finished do you suddenly realise what a strange aural experience you have lived through.

Track one ‘Radiation Amplifier’ starts with what sounds like Tibetan instruments being struck before the piece swiftly introduces musique concrete electronic effects and a sample before ending in something being strummed. Whoa!! Far fucking out maaan. Track two ‘The New Old Sentinel’ throws a whole caboodle of multi effects into the mix merging part drone / part black ambience / part electro acoustic over ghostly voices. Double whoa!! Double far fucking out maaan. I think you can gleam from this what the other tracks are going to sound like. Manipulated electronic sounds and voices resonate predominately. The music continually fluctuates. To move, evolve and grow. Putting out searching tentacles to probe and envelop. Building up pieces which are then demolished before starting anew all within the same track. This combination, which will happily throw dark and light together and damn the consequences, isn’t afraid to take risks. These are minuscule forays into every genre. Picking the finest flecks and combining them into one ethereal state. The music is abstract enough to be confounding and innovative but it never alienates the listener. Instead you feel a guiding hand leading you gently into the more surreal pieces whilst cooing soothing words of comfort are spoken into your ear as you stand hypnotised at the sonic sculptures unfolding.

If this is a foray into uncharted waters, away from the normal Cloama sound, then long may it continue. To produce a piece of work that is structurally complex and yet easily accessible, without falling into the pitfalls of self absorbing wankery, is a feat many aspire to. Cloama have achieved this easily and comes highly recommended to the more adventurous spirits amongst you.


[Cloama] / [New Old Sentinel]

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