[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
Behind I.V.L. stands a polish artist/musician, Karol Skrzypiec, who has so far released several albums, while Nepenthe is the product of a newcomer in the dark ambient scene. They have been working together on this record for about 3 years, and now Ambit is drawn to the light by Zoharum.
The classic dark ambient scenery has been aesthetically established with works released on such genre-defining labels as Cold Meat or Loki Foundation, and now revived and completed by Cyclic Law and Malignant. The new viral era saw an undeniable and economically valid need for digital labels, with a possibility to release multi-format digital records. The number and range in value is irritatingly swarming and the choice dictated by inspiration, hazard or recommendation.
The Polish brand Zoharum dug itself a name as a place where fine acts have been released to soothe our desire for darkly refined acoustics (Lagowski, Desiderii Marginis, Dead Factory, Rapoon, Machinefabriek…). With this in mind the present disc is surely to meet our expectations.
The 7 tracks here are numbered with roman digits instead of titles. Track I begins its crawling noises with the intention to uncover a realm bereft of human life. The layers are dense and alternately unleashed in sharp phosphorous slabs of sound. Suddenly, as if the physical plane is changed, a vicious chanting voice recites a ritual meant to keep away the spirits that wander in this damned realm.
What terrible visions could have undergone the two sound designers while writing these tracks, I can only imagine were reinforced by oozing memories of dream states or dark fiction. The influences seeping in are a matter of unimportant categorization when you hear this slow, brooding and unusual melody sweeping on track II. The sound elicits a range of unexplainable terror and self-contempt, similar to what some Lovecraftian characters must have felt confronted with the inhuman forms they met. The track maps out the hidden terrors of the earth, as Lustmord scrutinizes the unimaginable dimensions of the Cosmos.
The Stalker novel by the Strugatsky brothers is another reference image convulsing the present state of mind. Track III hovers on foggy swamp impressions gathering luminous dissipating specters that hang around the mind’s perception. There is an overwhelming assertion of mineral decrepitude, a renunciation and dispossession of life. In track III the mechanical world seems to have gained a sort of painful possession over anything human, a feeling emphasized by pounding drones melting a crippled chant on the background of a deeply emotional musical theme. Music-wise it is reminiscent of Sephiroth’s dark chanting, hinging on martial nostalgia.
In all its apparent simplicity, “Ambit” plays on feelings with wistful musical utterance. When you hear track V moving its melody up and down it seems that everything is quickly resolved, but instead the paced-down climaxes are so powerful that they erupt and fade away in total kinship with your numbed psyche. I find that this joint struggle of musical craftsmanship delivers a clear and steady, unsentimental gaze at both hidden and visible reality. Track VI is a stiff ambient wave of almost unmovable feelings, and the finale VII bears the same unrequited, painfully lifeless ambient experience of the sights around.
“Ambit” showcases a tremendous maturity of composition as a depiction of inner vistas and wordless, visionary synthesis. Listening to this record you “may contemplate your emotions as you would contemplate a landscape” (Pessoa).