abre ojos – “elements”: electronic mandalas and space-age soundscapes

Amongst all the net labels out there nowadays, then and now I come back to the stuff found at darkwinter.com, as overall quality of these releases usually is pretty good. At the moment, however, I feel mesmerized by “elements”, which, in my opinion, is an exceptional release even by darkwinter standards. One hardly could say there is a lack of dark, “drony” ambient music these days, as it seems creating this kind of soundscapes is trivial at least from a technical point of view, you’re not really likely to need a lot of equipment and skill to get this kind of stuff. And still, listening closer to some (most?) of these releases, one quickly learns that indeed there are differences both looking at technical aspects and, even more, talking about originality and inspiration found in it.

Talking about this, “elements”, the creation of Australian one-man project Abre Ojos, surely knows how to excel. Earth, fire, water, air – each of the “four elements” captured in one long piece of musical creation, in one great, musically evolving world. In the end, these four elements end up forming an acoustic universe dense and inspired, moody, electronic and yet evolving and highly “organic”, directly next door to releases like the incredible ‘Zeit’ album by Tangerine Dream, created in 1972, or, same as ingenious, Coil’s ‘Time Machines’ released a couple of years later. From this point, I dare to consider “elements” the logical successor to the both of these records at least talking about music.

But there’s more: Along with the music, “elements” also does come with a video clip (or, better, a visual collage) for each of the elements / songs. Initially, I felt torn about this idea, given that this kind of music usually works best being a “soundtrack” for a movie to evolve in your mind while listening to it. But, however, after looking at parts of the clips I have to say that, fortunately, they indeed work out emphasizing the effect of the music itself, indeed working out as “…sound reactive looping visuals and animated mandalas to create an immersive synaesthetic experience to give time for reflection and meditation…”, as the release liner notes claim.

So, coming to a conclusion, I have to say that “elements” is one of the most outstanding pieces of drone ambient music I have been listening to in quite a while. Given it’s available on-line for free download (and, actually, under a Creative Commons license), one shouldn’t hesitate checking it out, listening to it, eventually drifting along through the worlds of Abre Ojos for while. And, if you decide you actually enjoy this one and want to show your appreciation to its creator, there’s always a carefully packed and designed CD/DVD box available to be ordered online. Worth checking out definitely, I am thinking about creating a PayPal account. 🙂

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