Parhelion & Zac Keiller - Farthest North
Dark Ambient, Drone I am not sure about you, my faithful reader, but when I think about far north, I always have specific images raised by the novel under the name "Terror" by a famous American author Dan Simmons. I must admit, trying to keep my eye on the best literature creations, I don't remember anybody during past few years that could be capable of describing vast cold plains better than him. In case if you are not a book worm as I am, "Terror" fictionalized the account of Captain Sir John Franklin's expedition to find the Northwest Passage. The two ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror become icebound the first winter, and the captains and crew struggle to survive while being stalked across an Arctic landscape by a monster. Indeed, if you avoid all the science fiction behind the novel, the farthest north can be definitely described as one hell of a monster, wild and cruel in its indomitable power. But even with its entire wilderness, you cannot deny its primordial beauty.

And here I have a chance to experience not only the story itself, but also a sound of the farthest north with the new CD of a Canadian resident Ihor Dawidiuk aka Parhelion and his brother in arms Zac Keiller from distant shores of Australia. Two noble gentlemen will try to unleash their vision of the coldest places on our planet during forty five minutes of sound exploration and I will try to sink inside this journey despite the extreme summer weather which strokes us here today.

One of the most significant habitats of the cold blood monster called North is a sunless sea, and this is the exact name to open up the album. When I try to draw a picture of northern waters, I usually imagine huge waves flouncing back and forwards, a strong brutal wind trying to snap unprotected traveler and throw him into the raging abyss. But in this record, the sea appears dressed in clothes of a static grey desert where there is no movement at all, only a splashing of lazy water, and where a frozen stillness governs up to the horizon and beyond. The opening composition is based on a deep bass hum filling the air somewhere on background and few distant percussive beats add a slight diversity to the basic drone. A light melody joins in the middle to guide that kind of hypnotism toward the following "Perfect Desolation". This track keeps the same level of meditative ambience, a light melody rolls far away, but this time wavy special effect which was used in the previous composition is changed into windy special effect. "Smokey God" continues to exploit the same technique of ultra-slow humming drones with some airy special effects inserted here and there, setting the depth level even lower.

But the frozen desert is not always cruel, hitting intruders with all its deadly weapons. "Abode of Light" shows a never-setting sun over the dreamy plains where a mild wind plays with myriads of ice-flakes. If you stay long enough in this lifeless kingdom of frost, you will experience one of the most fascinating views of our planet when sun wind particles paint the sky with the widest gamut of opal. This track chants the beauty of northern light with a soft but yet cold melody full of spiritual connection between cosmic powers beyond human perception.

"In the Midst of Eternal Ice" brings even more stagnation into the music flow. The meditative level rises to the highest point reaching spheres of no return in the final track "Farthest North", a hymn for the world where humans are only rare guests trying to crawl it over in their eternal pride. It exists by its own rules where there is no place for us with our ships and airplanes, where we should bow before the throne of ice, where the beast bites into our warm flesh with his freezing sharp claws, where breath shatters into crystals and slow-crawling scurvy that makes victims lose their teeth and bleed from every orifice. The Farthest North constantly registers its disdain for the arrogance of western civilization in foreign lands.

While floating out of meditative mood, I realize that Parhelion and Zac Keiller made a good effort to show all the beauties of the wild northern nature. Unfortunatelly, there were some points in this album where the message was lost in some kind of "lack" of action inside the music; I feel that the picture should had been more diverse and not that static (too "frozen" is the right definition maybe). Anyhow, those of you who were able to invest few bucks in a physical copy can experience some visual images from the DVD as well in case the music is not enough to feel the chilly breath of eternal winter. Even being not the best ambient album that I came across, this release from Canadian Cyclic Law label is worth to check out for sure. Put on your warmest clothes and feel the spirit of the best track "Opal Sky", the biggest highlight of this record.
4
Brutal Resonance

Parhelion & Zac Keiller - Farthest North

7.5
"Good"
N/A
Electroracle
Released 2013 by Cyclic Law Records
I am not sure about you, my faithful reader, but when I think about far north, I always have specific images raised by the novel under the name "Terror" by a famous American author Dan Simmons. I must admit, trying to keep my eye on the best literature creations, I don't remember anybody during past few years that could be capable of describing vast cold plains better than him. In case if you are not a book worm as I am, "Terror" fictionalized the account of Captain Sir John Franklin's expedition to find the Northwest Passage. The two ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror become icebound the first winter, and the captains and crew struggle to survive while being stalked across an Arctic landscape by a monster. Indeed, if you avoid all the science fiction behind the novel, the farthest north can be definitely described as one hell of a monster, wild and cruel in its indomitable power. But even with its entire wilderness, you cannot deny its primordial beauty.

And here I have a chance to experience not only the story itself, but also a sound of the farthest north with the new CD of a Canadian resident Ihor Dawidiuk aka Parhelion and his brother in arms Zac Keiller from distant shores of Australia. Two noble gentlemen will try to unleash their vision of the coldest places on our planet during forty five minutes of sound exploration and I will try to sink inside this journey despite the extreme summer weather which strokes us here today.

One of the most significant habitats of the cold blood monster called North is a sunless sea, and this is the exact name to open up the album. When I try to draw a picture of northern waters, I usually imagine huge waves flouncing back and forwards, a strong brutal wind trying to snap unprotected traveler and throw him into the raging abyss. But in this record, the sea appears dressed in clothes of a static grey desert where there is no movement at all, only a splashing of lazy water, and where a frozen stillness governs up to the horizon and beyond. The opening composition is based on a deep bass hum filling the air somewhere on background and few distant percussive beats add a slight diversity to the basic drone. A light melody joins in the middle to guide that kind of hypnotism toward the following "Perfect Desolation". This track keeps the same level of meditative ambience, a light melody rolls far away, but this time wavy special effect which was used in the previous composition is changed into windy special effect. "Smokey God" continues to exploit the same technique of ultra-slow humming drones with some airy special effects inserted here and there, setting the depth level even lower.

But the frozen desert is not always cruel, hitting intruders with all its deadly weapons. "Abode of Light" shows a never-setting sun over the dreamy plains where a mild wind plays with myriads of ice-flakes. If you stay long enough in this lifeless kingdom of frost, you will experience one of the most fascinating views of our planet when sun wind particles paint the sky with the widest gamut of opal. This track chants the beauty of northern light with a soft but yet cold melody full of spiritual connection between cosmic powers beyond human perception.

"In the Midst of Eternal Ice" brings even more stagnation into the music flow. The meditative level rises to the highest point reaching spheres of no return in the final track "Farthest North", a hymn for the world where humans are only rare guests trying to crawl it over in their eternal pride. It exists by its own rules where there is no place for us with our ships and airplanes, where we should bow before the throne of ice, where the beast bites into our warm flesh with his freezing sharp claws, where breath shatters into crystals and slow-crawling scurvy that makes victims lose their teeth and bleed from every orifice. The Farthest North constantly registers its disdain for the arrogance of western civilization in foreign lands.

While floating out of meditative mood, I realize that Parhelion and Zac Keiller made a good effort to show all the beauties of the wild northern nature. Unfortunatelly, there were some points in this album where the message was lost in some kind of "lack" of action inside the music; I feel that the picture should had been more diverse and not that static (too "frozen" is the right definition maybe). Anyhow, those of you who were able to invest few bucks in a physical copy can experience some visual images from the DVD as well in case the music is not enough to feel the chilly breath of eternal winter. Even being not the best ambient album that I came across, this release from Canadian Cyclic Law label is worth to check out for sure. Put on your warmest clothes and feel the spirit of the best track "Opal Sky", the biggest highlight of this record.
Jun 06 2014

Andrew Dienes

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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