CD-R, Afe Records, 2007
An absorbing, introspective offering from France’s Cyril Herry (aka Ashes to Ashes, Sechres Mounds – with Toy Bizarre, Lecanora and Exotendo) this album, recorded mostly at night, is certainly an above par entry in the dark ambient category.
The metallic elements of album opener “Headscape” are suffused with slow melancholy notes creating an almost claustrophobic atmosphere shot through with subtly threatening rhythms and the ghost of failing propellers. It then glides smoothly into “Combinations From a Persistent Night,” which reveals a more (minimal) orchestral facet and introduces a sense of foreboding relayed by a heavy, siren-like throb, the propellers of earlier now closer, more real.
“Somewhere Close to the Skin” opens with a jangling reminiscent of a distant alarm bell or windchime, at first distant but quickly becoming intrusive the longer it continues, insisting that the listener pay attention and breaking the sense of isolation built up by the two previous tracks. The repetitive quality recalls long forgotten machinery in motion, something old now pressed again into service by an unseen hand. The sense of menace hinted at in “Headscape” returns as the track progresses, building to a crescendo before dissolving abruptly, as if the listener had woken from a bad dream to find themselves in the arid, cold landscape of “Selective Memory,” allowing a gradual retreat back into the reflective mood of the first two tracks, slowly forgetting the threat that has caused them to surface from their internal reverie.
Album closer “Red Mute” is a considered, gentle lull into the full safety of withdrawal, closing in upon itself. Even the metallic rattling has taken on a softer, dream like tone, as if the danger it heralded is fading away.
The album has a cinematic quality (Herry also makes short movies and video installations, including video work for Traum’s 2004 tour), but to dismiss this as merely a soundtrack would be to do it a great injustice. “Different Trouble Experiences of Twilight” is much more – it is a confident, well-structured journey, one that requires more than one listen to fully appreciate, and which rewards listeners with a rich, uncluttered soundscape in which to lose themselves.
— Catherine C.