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The intensely layerd ambient drones on this nicely packaged CD are cut into five tracks; Four longer ones inbetween 10 and 15 minutes and a short - slightly superfluous - final fifth.
Descriptive code-words for these tracks could be spooky, guitar drones, ambience, deep, really deep, and perhaps fairytales. Descriptive stories of a world covered in snow, where footmarks of snowbunnies and a lost polar bear break the absolute silence. Yet another very nice release by a very nice artist. Good for swampy summer evenings which will melt the snow away and let the river stream just a bit harder Da queste parti fa molto freddo, un freddo che congela le ossa, ma soprattutto la mente.
I've got to say, quickly before I properly start: Wow! Mick Harris finally back with a Lull album and it's a superb piece of work. Starting off with barely a whisper, the tracks grow into full formed ambient drifts, shifting slowly with ebbs and flows and a beautiful atmosphere. There's an undercurrent of darkness, which works with the subtle melodic drone. A brilliant release and a real string to the bow of the excellent Glacial Movements label.
Recommended, particularly for those that enjoy deep ambient. Subito si crea un rispettoso silenzio. Once upon a time he was the drummer with Napalm Death, in famous for compacting heavy metal into super-concentrated tracks of sometimes just a few seconds duration. Five tracks are listed on this 60 minute outing, but it might as well be one long suite, as the pieces all sound more or less the same.
Lull is unlikely to ever find himself on the cover of glossy magazines, but the few people who do buy this release will savour it, the way you would an expensive bottle of wine. Ewan Burke". Mick Harris who has been composing isolationist ambient music as Lull since must feel right at home at Glacial Movements Records - a label that has rapidly made a name for itself by specializing in releasing exactly this style of ambient music.
Following a few years of silence, Lull makes a impressive return with the release of Like A Slow River. For me, Mick Harris is one part of a trio of elders of dark ambient music. Without classics like Paradise Disowned, Permafrost, and Cold Summer, its doubtful that the genre would have the same powerful appeal to me that it has had. Just like the releasing label, Mick Harris certainly has a genuine passion for dark, brooding, isolationist ambient music and the merging of these two powerful purveyors of this genre was bound to result in something good.
Every aspect of Like a Slow River reflects this fervor. Images of ice, glacial regions, and barren, windswept landscapes abound in not only in the sounds and beautiful artwork accompanying the six panel digipack but also in the suggestive track titles: Whiteout, The Sheet, Like a Slow River, Treeless Grounds, and Illusion of Unbroken Surface. Slow-moving, icy cold, iridescent drones are the rule on these five compositions whose deceivingly minimal, haunting ambiance creeps up on the listener, ever so slowly, numbing the senses and lulling the mind into a stupor.
Mick MJ Harris, once known for a seemingly unlikely transmigration of the musical soul from death metal to isolationist ambient, is back, after a lull, appositely, as Lull. In terms of the foundations of a sub-genre, these last-mentioned were the ones who did the heavy digging work, with Harris arriving late to benefit from a ferment of industrial-ambient and dark-drone activity in the earlys. In fact Harris, for all his accumulated kudos, was no great pioneer, the true founder of this inverted church being Brian "Lustmord" Williams, the true High Priest of Isolationist Rituals, who was fully forged in the UK industrial flame of the early 80s.
In terms of input, being brutal, a tendency he would be familiar with as ex-Napalm Death merchant, Harris brought little to the sounding table other than a mimetic ear for the spooked and the downright desolate, sprung from a harsh audio-sensibility allied to a soundscaping skill which enabled him to find something aesthetically pleasing in the deepest and darkest recesses of the Muse's expression, most clearly seen on 's isolationist classic, Cold Summer.
And so to Like A Slow River, an atonal orchestration of sussurating and wheezing ebb and flow and rumblings of submarine currents beneath an ice-bedecked surface. Low-end eddies churn at bathyscape depths while the surface is perturbed with the sound of fissures forming and ice turning to meltwater. The music is unrelenting in its dronal creed, but Harris weaves movement into his slabs and wedges of sound, with arcing dives and slow falls inward effectively articulating a slow drift into the abyss.
The topography depicted is desolate and bleak, rendered in tones unmoored from any harmonic or rhythmic referents, but Lull's sombre drone diaries are possessed of a kind of blasted heath cruel beauty. Five variations on a theme are rolled out, all forged with deep bass surges and eerie mid-range tonalities, distinction being created through the differing configurations of its sounding sources, varying resonances, modulations and vibrations, and shifts in cadence and timbre.
Like A Slow River is, ultimately, not so much an ambient album in the Eno tradition, but rather a softer reined-in extension of the industrial power electronics tradition, its sounds at times liminal, at times subsonic, almost tailor made to the motivating philosophy behind the doom-laden drift of Glacial Movements. Head Glacial Mover, Alessandro Tedeschi, claims a wider remit than the simply musical for GM, aiming to do his bit to help protect the Arctic and Antarctic areas by raising awareness of their gradual effacement through musical mediation, and more power to his environmental elbow.
Some might see the conceptual programme as musically limiting but, like the many and subtly different Mozart symphonies or Bach fugues, it could equally be seen as a suggestive overarching theme driving many interpretations.
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So far, at least, it has given rise to several quite different takes - from Rapoon, Oophoi, and Tedeschi's own Netherworld. Written by Alan Lockett, Contributing Editor. Mick Harris of Napalm Death is not a person many would associate with the unhurried and hushed sound of dark-ambience where the laws of subtle texturing and atmospheric imaging rule supreme.
Since the early nineties however, Lull has been the side-project created as a vehicle for Harris' to exercise his more contemplative musings. After a number of high profile releases on Relapse's experimental sister-label 'Release' and releases for a range of other specialist labels, his latest project 'Like a Slow River' comes courtesy of ice-worshippers and purveyors of quality dark ambience- 'Glacial Movements'. Instantly settling into the deep permafrost soundscapes that have been a staple of the Glacial Movement's roster, Lull takes us on an engaging journey towards the Arctic, but never gets caught up in the inhospitable atmospherics of its more hostile regions.
Instead, his wafting atmospheric drone burbles at near static-pace, shunning the concept of time in favour of charting an elongated course of progression, much like a river that meanders around instead of running the most efficient course possible. After the achingly slow opener 'Whiteout', we are greater with the omnipresent 'The Sheet' which progresses in a more muscular fashion.
Sheets of warm and organic static, feedback and warped audio-skree fuse into a devastatingly epic blanket-cloud of sonic-material that constantly threatens the listener with eventual suffocation. The claustrophobic-nature of the piece is broken up due to the injection of subtle ambience through which a sense of light pervades.nitbosatingby.tk
VIAF ID: 27253076 (Personal)
As the album progresses, it is this sense of light that starts to make itself more apparent, with semi-melodic micro-tones and high-frequency sound waves delicately littering rumbling pockets of low-frequency burble. The sound comes across as natural, almost 'gentile' in-places but with the constant menace of an all-out storm hanging overhead. It is very much akin to the blustery and unoccupied plains of Northern Greenland post deep-Winter where the ice is starting to thaw and the birds are close to landing, i.
With 'Like a Slow River', Lull has perfectly distilled the sound of the sub-arctic in an album whose tracks flow in one great body. The vividly coloured and excellently executed photograph adorning the inside cover is in complete contrast to the sounds that accompany it, however, it acts as a wonderful wake-up call to prove to listeners that there is life beyond the claustrophobic clutches of this magnificent slice of dark-ambient drone.
Thanks to a recognisable concept, tireless promotional activities, co-operations with some of the major acts of the genre and a musical language capable of addressing many different scenes, Alessandro Tedeschi's Glacial Movements imprint has turned into one of the main newcomers in the Ambient segment over the past year and a half. The label's first compilation, "Cryosphere", was one of the talked-about items in insider circles at the time, quickly selling out its limited print run and full-length follow-ups have received more than just an appreciative high-five in various Print- and WebZines.
Interestingly enough, "Cryosphere", with its reverbed spaces and cool-burning bell sounds, proved to be the outfit's most untypical release to date. Effectively, this was down to the philosophy and aesthetics Tedeschi had been devising in his mind years before concretising them in a record company. Glacial Movements, probably like no other label anywhere else, is steeped in Isolationist Ambient, a music revelling in sensations of perfect solitude.
It is the musical cry of the naked individual, exposed to nothing but the bare forces of nature, stripped of the expextations and the support of society. Almost by default, the genre expresses itself best in hermetically sealed-off zones, whose sonic architecture is left to the devices of a single composer. The twist of the story and the main reason why Glacial Movements has enjoyed such an ethusiastic reception is their conceptual nod towards the frosty beauty of the Antarctic region.
Both in terms of cover- and album-design, its publications have explored different trains of thought with regards to these barren, outstretched lands as well as hypothetical journeys through its white infinity. Ambient, forever a "Picture Music" feeding as much from associations and allusions as from the actual arrangements, attains a spiritual acme in terms of focus and imaginative power here.
Sul lento silenzio del mare - Score
Clothing the music in lovingly lay-outed Digipacks, Tedeschi has made use of this underlying oscillation to bring out the best in himself and others. On "Morketid", the solo album he released on Glacial Movements as its second CD, he somewhat distanced himself from anything he had previously scored, engaging in a style which owed as much to William Basinski as it did to Brian Eno.
Rapoon's "Time Frost", meanwhile, went down a remarkably similar road, defrosting Richard Strauss' "The Blue Danube" from a centennial slumber. Effectively, these works no longer represent tastefully assembled depressive dirges but an expansive kind of ambient romanticism, taking all the time in the world to let its ardent blood.
On the strength of these records, it no longer comes as a real suprise that Mick Harris, of former Napalm Death- and current Scorn-fame, has chosen Glacial Movements as the home for his first album in four years under the disguise of "Lull". Vice versa, Tedeschi repays the favour by crowning Harris "the most important representative of ambient isolationist music ever" - which may not necessarily be overstating his achievements for the scene, but slightly underrate the eclecticism and diversity of his ouevre, regardless of the bleak and plaintive outlook it holds in general.
In opening piece "Whiteout", Harris delineates the outlines of his territory, allowing his gaze to float over gigantic ice floes and penetrating the core of thick clouds of cold mist. From the initially abstract rumble of howling winds and seismic convulsions, a musical landscape gradually begins to unfold, manifesting itself in deep choral moans and regally shifting drone tectonics. Harris carves out the bass region with special care, creating waves of tummy-punching thrust, which lend his music an immediate physical intensity.
Linearity is pleasantly absent here, as pieces move without a recognisable logic. Th album as a hole, however, adheres to a strict plan: From its undefined and open beginnings, "Like a Slow River" peacemeal develops more recognisable forms, leaning heavily on drones rich in harmonics and inner palpatations. The title track already bases on a gentle pulse of Nordic breaths, billowing and fluctuating, while closing "Illusion of Unbroken Surface" even closes the album with a delicate melodic touch.
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Harris maintains a fine and carefully measured balance between stasis and movement, as well as between the frightening and the consoling. As a consequence, "Like a Slow River" has therefore turned out much more than just a dark and ominous chunk of noise. Rather, it weaves a finely woven net of fragile metaphors, resulting in a soundtrack to snowflakes falling from the sky in dream-like slow motion.
After being back on the map with a great Scorn album, Mick Harris has finally unburied the Lull project with a new full length, and I feel it's only natural that it's been released by Alessandro Tedeschi Netherworld 's isolationist label Glacial Movements.
Italian Birds of Passage | SpringerLink
Now, has anything changed since the heydays of the Lull sound? This is more or less in the vein of the "Cold Summer" masterpiece, and though unavoidably less groundbreaking it's still an inspired and evocative album. Welcome back, mr. Assistant Editor Difficult but worth the effort, Mick Harris' take on "glacial ambient" is especially literal.
Netherworld's Alessandro Tedeschi founded the Glacial Movements label to explore and promote his concept of "glacial and isolationist ambient" music. These tracks are so minimalist that the notes themselves are largely absent, with just their remnants in the form of lingering echoes left to create a sense of frigid loneliness. Title track "Like a Slow River" at last adds a hint of contrast in the form of whistling tones; presumably meant to evoke the wind blowing through cracks in the ice, it's tempting to compare them to whale songs, if only to conjure some sense of mammalian life to mitigate the loneliness.
The genius of this album is that Harris provides little assistance to the listener; this isn't an album that will instantly transport you to the arctic north with no effort on your part.