Taâlem’s latest batch of CD3″s arrived at the end of the year, but all are suitable for winter. Tone Color‘s entry is cool and sleepy like a long hibernation; Øe (Fabio Perletta) and Enrico Coniglio’s is cold and dry like Antarctic wind; and Babylone Chaos’ is as disturbing as a stir crazy Jack Torrance. They are available together or apart; the first editions are in digipacks, later editions in jewel cases.
Tone Color sets the stage with a tapestry of soothing sounds. To listen is to experience the slow unfurling of a paper from a winter log or the frosting of a window as the sun begins to set. An EP of increments, Today Will Die Tomorrow is reminiscent of the work of Yann Novak: deliberate, nuanced, and most of all, patient. Arriving on the heels of Andy Lomas’ first full-length album (The Last Day, on Assembly Field), it is also much quieter, with fewer, longer notes and a less obvious use of field recordings. The piano keys of “La Ronde” poke above the mist, but soon recede. While listening, one might drift off for half an hour, only to revive, re-nourished. Nothing here will harm, disturb, or unsettle; it’s a kind, peaceful recording that seeps gently into the subconscious.
By title and tone, Øe and Enrico Coniglio’s Inner Frost is intended to be a winter recording; little imagination is needed to feel the frost in these currents. The chords accumulate like snow drifts, intimating a deep winter, dangerous enough to chill the marrow. The higher pitches resonate like pinging icicles or tinnitus. As the frost sets in, it penetrates the psyche; this inner frost is a cold heart, a suspicious mind, an unmotivated body. Like a mountain climber suffering from hypoxia, it offers strange aural delusions: a growl toward the beginning of “A White Place” may be that of a polar wind advancing through the wind. And yet, the music itself never falls into torpor. Swirling, drifting, falling or rising, it continues in motion, a blizzard that stills everything in its path without itself becoming still.
Noises from the Attic is the strangest of the trio, a series of hallucinations that serves as the polar opposite of Today Will Die Tomorrow while implying that very thing: the coldness of death, lurking somewhere near. What is that noise in the attic? We already know that someone is going to ascend the creaky stairs while carrying a malfunctioning flashlight. The last beam will shine on something sinister, and then, darkness. Packed with rustles and rattles, creaks and chains, darkness and drones, this is easily one of the most frightening releases in recent memory. And yet it’s so well done – all suggestion, no screams – that one can’t help but want to play it again. And again. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. (Richard Allen)