Scarless Arms – Frighteningly : Reassuring // Whispering Winds

[Reviewed by stark]

I’ve received two albums by Scarless Arms, a project from Germany dealing with something between dark wave, dark ambient and chill music. At least on the first CD which is called “Frighteningly : Reassuring” which contains… 21 songs in 73 minutes. Not a typical form for this kind of music and being honest this raises one of my doubts about the album – there’s a whole lot of tracks, most of them rather short therefore I don’t have the impression of taking some sort of an imaginary journey to the unknown, which I constantly expect after ambient music. Here the songs vary one from another, which in itself is not a bad thing, obviously. But it often seemed to me like it’s a collection of unfinished ideas from various moments in musician’s life. A certain draft book, with lack of flow and consistency. Some of the tunes are reasonably good though, composed of looped rhythms, piano or synth melodies and occasional vocals (including the legendary Monica Richards from Faith And The Muse). Personally I wouldn’t mind if the artist would make use the background more extensively, put some drone here or there, but it may as well just be my ambient fixation. All in all, it may be nothing special yet not a bad album, but if you treat it as a set of separate tracks, not a one coherent musical story.

The second CD I got is entitled “Whispering Winds” and it’s much closer to my personal taste. It is also different enough from “Frighteningly : Reassuring” to make me wonder whether it is actually composed by the same project. Forget about simple electronic melodies, this is dark/deep organic ambient, not intrusive enough to devour you and your surroundings, but suggestive, really atmospheric and effectively directing you to the outer world. Kammarheit might be a good signpost here; I notice similar composing techniques as well as similar emotions. To put it differently, they assist you to the same wasteland. There’s no horror here, no industrial vibrations nor bizarre rituals either. It’s just a barren world, with no human existence neither now nor then. There are some silent rusty remnants though, deserted playgrounds, empty houses with no walls. Someone must’ve built them, but who? They are represented by the subtle shreds of melodies like in “Buried Heart” (where I sense a delicate Atrium Carceri vibe). I think though the album doesn’t have any particular concept and the tracks are more like sound impressions than actual “songs.” That feeling is amplified by the titles: “Deserted Playground”, “Through The Metal Lattice Windows”, “Thoughtful Moment While Watching The Swirling Dust.” Yes, they all are like those transitory moments which are gone after you blink. Sometimes dark, sometimes melancholic, but in general very well performed and I’m pretty sure it will give a lot of pleasure for all you dark ambient hearts over there.

So if you ask me, while “Frighteningly : Reassuring” is not a mandatory lecture, you should definitely give “Whispering Winds” a chance. It’s not wall-breaking, but dark ambient is not about that, but about capturing the atmosphere and painting the inner images and visions. And this guy here, knows how to do that.

Scarless ArmsFrighteningly : Reassuring // Whispering Winds
Area DB // Weird Amusement, Crawling Tunes
CD/Digital 2017 // CD/Digital 2019

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