The thing about droning ambiance is that it plays in the mind of the listener, at least those who want to listen. It helps if the composer fuels the imagination, and Finland’s Kenneth K manages to do this with this electronic opus by entering the innermost recesses of our mind and gently lifting us into a space of ever-widening voids. Gentle and sad, the track “The New Seed” is evocative and kaleidoscopic, yet manages to retract from its apparently expanding fractal form. As you may gather, this is all cosmic in its nature, but yet it’s like the process of breathing: in – out – in – out. Based on this early point in this 40 minute journey, I’d say that if you like Yen Pox, Troum, Tenhi or atmospheric Burzum, then all your gloomy Christmases will have come at once.
There is a development: nature’s forces are intermingled with real human life rather than just the suggestion of it. Strange distorted sounds emerge but there is a male voice peering through and juxtaposing human functions and natural forces: blood – fire – cleansing – fire. The ambiance is interesting but for me this didn’t work with the hip-hop “word sound engineer” Black Saturn. We’re in another universe here, not downtown New York and this fusion didn’t strike true. But thanks to the sound creations of Kenneth K – by coincidence a relation to Kafka’s Josef K in state of mind, I sense – and Black Saturn, we are taken to a world of confusion and nightmares. Strangulated sounds suggest the outer world is winning this battle. Slow screeching movements, urgency and the sounds of a very sick violin are suggestive of a twisted mind.
As “The New Seed” progressed, I lost any continuity there may have been. Now it’s true that ambient nor indeed any music has no obligation to have a coherent story. A constant choral voice now hung in the air behind the quiet sound of the piano. The mood transformed from tranquil to disturbing as the e-bow then fronted the muffled sound of the American voice. The impression is of mental turmoil and chaos. This is a journey through consciousness. The level of gloom and melancholy exceed conventional norms. It’s a confusing picture. Cosmic winds blow in their black way. All I could feel was isolation and solitude, and the power of magnetic fields around me. Human voices make an unwelcoming and uncomfortable return to faintly recognisable acoustic strains. “Wonderful feeling inside” utters the voice. It doesn’t seem very wonderful. In my mind it seems more agonised and tortured. As the album ends, Kenneth K’s spaceship floats away in the ether with ringing ambient sounds all around. I have visions of asteroids uncontrollably flashing by. It is of course a dark place.
In all honesty, I haven’t a clue what this was all about. “The New Seed” started off strikingly but seemed to develop into a series of unconnected images. But unfathomable as it may be, it has to be remembered that this cosmic-industrial ambience is not of the real world. It is born of creative imagination, and it is that and its moods which make “The New Seed” very interesting.
(7/10 Andrew Doherty)