AKIRA RABELAIS - Spellewauerynsherde
July 2004
Samadhi Sound

This is the third release on David Sylvian’s Samadhi Sound label, and the first from another artist. Akira Rabelais has already produced a number of albums under the ambient genre, usually consisting of a collection of formless, lengthy compositions that defy the use of any sort of natural instrumentation. Spellewauerynsherde is no exception, featuring 7 tracks of rather desolate, bleak and haunting backgrounds with heavily treated traditional Icelandic accapella female vocals floating eerily above.

It’s little surprise then that this album has a spiritual feel to it, especially considering Sylvian’s own frequent flirtations with the subject matter; which no doubt contributed to his interest in this release. The atmospherics are expertly crafted, with an incredible sense of dimension between the filtered frequencies and platforms of sound; but it’s the use of the vocals that give the album such a unique feel, often being slowed down, reversed, chopped and delayed to produce a variety of interesting aural effects.

Promp. Parv. 518/20 is particularly uncanny, with overlapping vocals that are slowed down to a virtually unrecognisably halt, and given a chilling, gated, metallic tone that slowly disappears and re-emerges into view. Some tracks resemble John Foxx remarkable 1995 album Cathedral Oceans, which also has a very spacious, sacred texture to it - although, unlike that record, Spellewauerynsherde lacks a stong melodic aspect or sense of emotional uplift. However, it is likely to channel you into a sort of soothing, calming unreality that should see it filed neatly under ‘ambient’ in your CD collection. Despite its resonating sadness, it also grows on you like moss.

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