VARIOUS ARTISTS: CRYOSPHERE
CDR: Glacial Movements GM001 [2006]
Ltd x 300


Closing The Eternity: Pulse Of Iceilence
Northaunt: Crocker Land
Tho-So-Aa: Cryotesk
Lightwave: Proxima Thule
Tuu: Silent Writing
Troum: Giascei
Aidan Baker: Beneath The Ice
Netherworld: Kryos
Oöphoi: Cold Sun

I've just watched the "March of the penguins" DVD. Fascinating stuff. The story of the emperor penguin walking en mass in single file over hundreds of miles to its breeding grounds was rather touching. Great narration by Morgan Freeman. But I was left with one overall feeling. Why bother? To use all that energy to move from one piece of snow and ice to another identical
piece of snow and ice when they could have just met and mated within half a mile of their original point seems a rather pointless exercise. The emperor penguin sure has shit for brains. Mother nature. What a bitch. The soundtrack to the movie sucked as well. The producers could have done a better job utilising some of the music to be found on this release as a backdrop to the endless scenes of penguins walking. And walking. And walking. A missed opportunity all round one feels.

"Cryosphere" features 9 tracks by some of the best respected and up and coming artists in the whole ambient and drone genres. Featuring: Closing the Eternity, Northaunt, Tho-So-AA, Lightwave, TUU, Troum, Aidan Baker, Netherworld and Oophoi the artists have contributed music that puts the listener right into the heart of the frozen Artic wastes. Each track a representation of the vast sub zero emptiness of this, mostly, unexplored land. The music is all about texture and emotive atmospheres, with the artists exploring different techniques to put this across. The listener is guided through rich minimalist pieces onto darker, starker desolate passages and far beyond through the use of inventive electronic patterns and resonating drones. The sense of unnerving isolation the common denominator that binds the music together. The cold winds blow and howl as the ice cracks, shifts and melts and the day / night cycle continues unabated. The music aurally painting incredible scenic landscapes, that are forever changing, for the listener to decipher at will. The majestic beauty of this inhospitable land laid bare for exploration through the power of imagination.

"Cryosphere" is one of the few V/A releases I've reviewed where there are no stand-out tracks or participating artists. Each artist has produced excellent music in keeping with the overall theme of the piece. Each outstanding in their own right. Each diverse enough to be different but no less imaginative and invigorating. This is the first release by the appropriately named Glacial Movements record label and is limited to only 300 copies. If you seek music that inspires a sense of wonder then look no further. "Cryosphere" is the release for you.

ANM

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