Ecstasphere & Aphexia - Klangporträts III
Released off label 2016Album of the Year #25 2016
Ophelia Ecstasphere under her two separate musician names Ecstasphere and Aphexia has created one of my favorite Experimental, Rhythmic Noise, and industrial inspired series of all time. The Klangporträts series began in 2012 with the first entry written and recorded during a weekend. Abstract sounds, immersive rhythms and more all came out in that entry. The second entry in 2014 saw Ophelia experiment not only with her trademarked sounds, but also with her voice. This turned the music into a more intimate, and personal piece. However, neither one of those EPs were released until January 25, 2015 where Ophelia put them out as a double EP. Now we're in the present with the third entry in Klangporträts.
Klangporträts III was written and recorded in the Autumn and Winter of 2015 and has been released just back in October. This entry dives away from personal reflections and is rather a thank you note to a person she's encountered that's inspired her to create. Whether that experience was good or bad, full of hate or sadness, each one is addressed in Klangporträts III. In her own words, Ophelia has stated that, "...it is an honor and also an inescapability for me to cherish these confrontations soundwise."
'Absolution' starts off the album with a humble, echoing amiance which is slowly greeted by light techno rhythms. The ambiance turns to frosty tenures as Ophelia's angelic humming penetrates the empty vastness. Should you close your eyes whilst listening to any of her productions, you will find yourself surrounded by an infinite arrange of stars and space that moves to your own whim. Near the five minute mark of the song, we are delivered into a heavier arrangement of industrial inspired beats. However, the noise breaks with Ophelia's whispers and we are sent out softly.
'Reformation' began with what sounds like the slight trickle of water behind IDM related thumps. The background synth and acoustic elements gave the song a rather spiritual kick. However, the track transforms in a heavy rhythmic noise piece guided by the spoken word delivery of Ophelia's voice. The track even goes a bit into the industrial metal spectrum as the percussion gains momentum and guitars fly through it. At the end of the song Ophelia gives us a solo with her words that was absolutely beautiful accompanied by nothing except a slight echo.
'Resignation' seems to explore a much more depressing theme than any of the other works presented on Klangporträts III, With creepy violin moments that screech and dissipate into the distance as well as the soft sobbing and groaning, 'Resignation' sounded like a moment of defeat.
'Alternation' slowly kicks things back into gear though I was all but placid by the drone intro to the song. It is broken around the one minute and thirty second mark by some light rhythms, but it taken over once more by the drone atmosphere. However, all that stops when wonderful IDM laced techno rhythms with percussive beats steps in. It's never that fast but is perfectly paced to be hypnotizing. That, and the middle eastern vibe that's given off when the three and a half minute mark kicks is is astonishing.
'Resolution' is the track that showcases the experimental notion of Ecstaphere and Aphexia's namesake. While utilizing similar techniques found in other songs, the oddly paced rhythms and constantly changing background had left me perplexed but intrigued. Frantic moments also combine well within the song along with glitchy like noises. The middle eastern vibe returns once more with Ophelia's voice echoing right behind it. This is the track that puts everything we've heard on the album so far fruitfully together.
Now, for those of you who decide to download the album instead of stream it off of Bandcamp, you will be treated to an additional bonus track on the album 'Sonnenkuss'. This track isn't under the name of Ecstasphere or Aphexia; it's under the name of Ophlia The Suffering. And, as such it takes a completely different route. The fourteen minute track starts off with slow moving ambiance with a violin playing over. Ophelia's ghostly singing takes over the song with gorgeous clashing vocals. Around the five minute mark, doom-inspired guitars slowly take over the track with the classical and spacial elements still intact. Around the six minute and forty second mark, 'Sonnenkuss' transforms itself into a soft, orchestral melodic metal song. The track then works all these elements - ambiance, classicial, metal, noise made both by man and machine, and crushes it all together into one great melting pot. Though this song may not fit the grand electronic scheme of the rest of the album, it sure does kick some major ass and ends off the EP in good fashion.
I was more than impressed by Ophelia's previous outings and I can easily say the same for Klangporträts III. While the track listing has a small number with only six tracks present on the release, there is more than forty minutes worth of material to get through on this album. That's more than what's on some musician's full length releases. Not only that but this addicting piece of art is available on Ecstasphere's Bandcamp under the "name your price" model. You have no excuses to not listen to this at all. Go check it out.
Dec 02 2016
Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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