Welcome in the ring, Silentnotes!
I am thrilled to see a 9:52 experimental journey to the far ends of the space continuum as a first entry, because this is not a regular music forum and like many here, I am searching for new worlds and unheard sounds, bold creators and auditory visionairies. Not to spoil too much from the get go, but it seems I searched in the right place!
"Audioskop" spans a wide range from the relaxed, easy listening beginnings of furniture music to modern experimental electronic music with its warped psychedelic spaces and crunchy synth bass sounds. What ties this track to the realm of ambient music is its disregard for traditional structure, simple, even rhythms and foreseeable patterns or large scale repetition. Instead, it focuses on the creation of a space. Or, around at least 15 different spaces, in this case.
By striving to create a space to envelope the listener in, "Audioskop" still has the same agenda as Brian Enos cornerstone of the ambient genre, "Music for airports", which even carries the space to be treated by the music in its name. But that is pretty much where the similarities between Enos early works and "Audioskop" stop, as the latter is not seeking to create or even relate to familiar spaces of our daily surroundings. It is much rather providing us with a portal gun to ever-changing and unheard of parallel dimensions. The atmospheric works of Isao Tomita, that laid out the path for this new type of music in the 70´s even before Brian Eno coined the term ambient, show a much more comparable approach in their erraticness and abundance of fantastic soundscapes.
What has changed a lot since then is the technology of sound design, and Sava Botic uses it to its full extent in their quest for new dimensions of sound. Naturalistic environmental recordings are being mixed with complex evolving drones, dry pops of contact mics blend with digital artifacts and pulsing reverberations. This track takes us on a ride, and a beautiful organic panorama may get disintegrated by some technical implosion at moments notice.
This imbues every moment of this composition with preciousness, every sound feels like a rare and unique encounter, every space we find ourselves in is a world of its own, that deserves to be, to live, to breath, and yet it will inevitably have to make room for the unstoppable course of evolution.
Technically, "Audioskop" is executed immaculately. All the different sounds are glued together by a vintage inspired, mid range focused sonic image with a steady compression and analogue drive, that creates a warm, fuzzy feeling and really helps tie the many different pieces together. The sound design is marvelous, original and surprising, by times just as intense as it is soothing only a moment later. It is crafted with a keen eye for detail and a striking sense for, there it is again, space. Music as a medium unfolds over time, and its dimensionality exists in the way, sounds unfold and repeat over time. This is true for the microscopic scale, with delays and reverbs creating naturalistic or fantastic stages for the sounds the act on, as well as macroscopically over the course of beats and measures.
"Audioskop" revels in this, shifting the soundstage with every new piece being introduced, sometimes creating clean and digital open spaces expanding over the stereo field and drifting off into the depths, sometimes warm and tight proximity placing the listener right in front of the ever evolving events. And every shift is mirrored on the broader scale, with the looped percussive elements creating unheard rhythms far off of any typical electronical subcultures standard beats. If you are open for a wider definition of the term groove, there is a lot to be found here.
You will have to search, though. "Audioskop" demands openness and the willingness to let go, explore, find the meaning in the details and create a sense of an underlying message for yourself. If you find it hard to dive into music, that takes some time and does not provide you with the build up of tension and its release, like a typical song structure or a drop in modern electronic music would, you will find it hard to get into the intricacies of this piece. You will probably find it hard to follow after a while and you might feel the diabolic urge to hit the skip button once you reach the 3 minute mark (don´t, you know skipping is bad for you and your family and friends). And this is probably the only criticism of this piece I will manage to formulate:
"Audioskop" lacks an overarching structure, a goal, an arc of tension. This means, you will not be brought to the far ends of the galaxy by this track all on its own, no, you will have to walk along with it. There will be no exposition, climax or resolution to take you by the hand and show you the way, there will be no dramatic thrust to propel you further, you will have to stay focused and steer the ship beyond the stars.
But if you muster the concentration to do so, you will be rewarded. You will find a million things in the light shining through this quasi crystal.
And in the end, therein might lie the big value in ambient textural music for our ever accelerating times. They will create an isle of stasis, invite you to slow down and stay and appreciate the vast complexity that is out there in anything, anytime and anywhere, if you manage to listen closely enough.
"Audioskop" is a beautiful, ever-changing multiverse of sounds and ideas and I cannot get enough of it.
As you might have noticed by now, I myself am indeed perfectly happy without said dramaturgic thrust and I will certainly listen to this piece many times more. I am thrilled with the quality of the tracks posted in response to my offer and I am seriously worried, how I can manage to not just fanboy the entries posted here. But then, it is absolutely a good thing to fanboy (or fangirl) to your hearts content, it is always a win win situation, so off we go...
Thank you, Silentnotes! Amazing work!