Vidna Obmana: Landscape in Obscurity

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Listening to this long ambient album by Obmana is like gazing into a shimmering pool of water in a secluded shadowy garden. It is restful and quiet and it makes no demands on your tired mind. Usually I associate the Belgian Vidna Obmana with dreary hours of melancholy electronic droning but this piece by him has a much lighter, sweeter sound to it. Some of this is due to his use of flute and saxophone riffs, most of them electronically loop-repeated, by a pair of Italian avant-garde jazzmen, Capriolo Trifoglio and Diego Borotti. Another factor in this nicer sound is that Obmana has chosen to use a more "major" harmonic atmosphere rather than the "minor" or microtonal harmonies of his other works.

Though there are a few accents of acoustic percussion, mostly delicate rattles, the greatest part of this long single piece (68 ½ minutes) is composed of long floating notes, which extend off into endless waves of echoes. As a big reverb fan, this is pleasing to me. Flute and sax notes percolate through the echoing mix in a kind of slow kaleidoscopic revolution. There is hardly any variation in volume, complexity, or harmonies; the piece retains the same character throughout its length.

As with all "true" ambient music, this is not meant to be listened to with undivided attention. It is the analogy of incense or fragrance, meant to add quality, enjoyment, and mood to an environment rather than demanding a full commitment. As such, Landscape In Obscurity does its job of filling the air with its peaceful, comforting vibrations, a welcome sound in the leafless frozen months of winter.

Record Label: Hypnos Recordings

Style: Ambient


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