dw040 - Gowlan Roberts & Etheocles Stevens - Strom

Ikecht - Leon Vlieger (c) 2007
Strom is a new release on the .net label Dark Winter and is a cooperation between the English Gowlan Roberts and the Canadian Etheocles Stevens. Both were names unknown to me. Together they present a mix of drones and ambient which features a proper Canadian chamber orchestra (I think their contribution is mainly used as short samples in track five).

Strom has become a remarkable composition. At heart it is one long piece of music lasting 76 minutes that has been divided into seven parts. The transitions are not entirely seamless, although this occurs to be an encoding issue, on both computers on which I played these tracks there were clear pops between the tracks (which is a shame, as it disrupts the flow). Other than that, you would not be able to tell when one track changes to another. A backbone of reverbing e-bow drones is dressed up with subtle sounds, creating either dark atmospheres (in the track "Blätter" for example) or more fragile, lighter ones. The recurring theme in "Sonne Auf Eis" and later again in "Sterne" is one which is simply painfully beautiful. It is the kind of sound that can bring tears to my eyes, sounds to which I cannot but help closing my eyes and feeling how I am oozing emotions on all sides. Powerful stuff.

Strom is a subtle work, one of which you can easily miss the essence. Music that demands your attention. I really had to hear this several times before it peeked my interest. Definitely headphone music to slowly sink in to.

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