[Reviewed by VITRIOL]
Sabled Sun is the recent project of Simon Heath, serving as an outlet for music falling outside the creative sphere of Atrium Carceri. In accordance with this artist’s other body of work, it is accompanied by a completed concept, a whole world ready for us to explore. As a motor force for the project we find again a protagonist, whose footsteps we are tracing through a desolate terrain. Newly awakened from cryogenic stasis, he finds himself in a post-apocalyptic planet where everything has been destroyed, with nobody left but robots performing their pointless tasks, abandoned buildings and forgotten machines. He wanders through the wastelands in search of an inkling of life, some sort of evidence about what happened.
In his path he encounters the robots – even becomes friends with one of them – the dilapidating structures left by the long-gone humans, and the scorched, razed landscapes that were the result of the holocaust. Like a menial god surrounded by his creations, he searches for a deeper purpose in his survival, in a world where all other creatures like him have perished. This in a way might be related to the concept of the god destroying the universe through chaos to achieve cosmic order, in the Atrium Carceri release “Phrenitis”. I like to imagine that this is the god who caused the holocaust, and this is indeed the mystery that eludes our hero. He has become a god in the place of god, left alone to reshape his perception of the universe, unaided and unguided. But of course the parallelism is entirely subjective, no direct relation is stated anywhere by the artist.
The Sabled Sun releases are divided into two ‘sections’ – the first section describes the time the protagonist spends on Earth after his awakening, and they are named after the years passed, “2145” and “2146”. This section is closer to the vein of Atrium Carceri, fundamentally space/ dark ambient but containing a lot of industrial and even some scarce melodic and ritual elements, as well as suggestive titles that give a pretty good idea of what is happening to our hero. The second section consists of three “Signals” releases, “I”, “II” and “III”. These are the signals the protagonist receives in his attempts to discover some sign of life other than his own.
Each release consists of one long track of deep space ambient, more transcendental in its nature, leaving ample room for the listeners to maneuver whichever way they like. With these releases Simon steps off the platform of traditionally cinematic ambience and tries his hand with something not so strictly defined, engineered to generate abstract emotive and visionary responses in the listener’s mind. Cold, isolationist, minimal – toned by long passages of atmospheric synths, reverberating drones, some faint industrial electronics here and there. A slow-burn fall into the vortex of space, containing some characteristically soothing, meditative moments but essentially dark in its core. While in the numbered releases there is indication of life and rapid succession of events, here the images that come to mind are those of orbiting planets, distant stars, spaceships gliding through the void in graceful silence.
As an avid listener of space ambient – that I love all the more for being supported by such a diligent sci-fi narrative as is the case here – I must admit that among the two Sabled Sun branches I prefer “Signals”; although “2145” and “2146” were also fascinating. With each “Signals” release Sabled Sun locks on to its homing beacon a little more permanently, and with “III” the Signals sound has been crystallized into something approaching the original notion of Musica Universalis. Brilliant stuff.