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Ionophore - Sinter Pools (2016) - Review

Band: Ionophore
Album title: Sinter Pools
Release date: 14 March 2016
Label: Malignant Antibody

Tracklist:
01. Sinter Pools
02. Infantman
03. Unchecked
04. Underground Man
05. Post
06. Sequester
07. 12 Minutes
08. Checked

Ionophore return for their sophomore release Sinter Pools on Malignant Records' off-shoot Malignant Antibodies. This album encompasses a vast array of musical genres and seems to bring influences from all over the place musically. Some genres this album touches on could be atmospheric, experimental, ambient, dark ambient, industrial, noise, post-rock, and neo-classical to name a few. All these sounds come together for a cohesive album which immediately grabs the listeners' attention and manages to hold it through to the last moment.

The three artists in this project Leila Abdul-Rauf, Jan Hendrich, and Ryan Honaker are all multi-instrumentalists with a lot of experience in various genres. Leila Abdul-Rauf is back after her critically acclaimed solo album, Insomnia on Malignant Records, which happened to have guest appearances by both Jan and Ryan. This time around the music has less of the dark ambient feel and takes a more natural and lively approach. With Leila Abdul-Rauf's vocals giving each track a highly ethereal feel, something almost similar to Portishead at times, we are able to look deeper into her mind and enjoy the beautiful and poetic vocals presented in Sinter Pools. Yet these vocals often have a very dark hazy dreamlike approach. Add to this haziness the warped trumpet, violin, and piano pieces and the album begins to take on a form that is similar to Bohren & Der Club of Gore or The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble. I can almost imagine myself sitting in some dark club at midnight in the center of Dark City enjoying this performance. Other styles seem to emerge from these tracks at times, certain sections give me the same lo-fi sensations as tracks by Animal Collective and other psychedelic indie-rockers, while others seem to tap into that west coast gothic vibe which has recently been brought to the spotlight by Chelsea Wolfe.

From top to bottom Sinter Pools is bursting with creativity and a slightly obscured beauty. Its almost as if the album cover art has tapped into this idea, with what appears to be a gorgeously serene snowy mountain range, almost fully obscured by what may or may not be clouds. Tracks like "Underground Man" and "12 Minutes" tap into the distorted ambient soundscapes most often found in post-rock acts like This Will Destroy You or Explosions In The Sky. That ability to start off with a gently relaxing beat and ambience and then effortlessly progress into a distorted cacophony with a highly industrial edge is constantly simmering just below the surface of Sinter Pools.

As you can guess from my wildly broad spectrum of comparisons here, Sinter Pools really appears to be the sort of album that could appeal to a lot of different sorts of listeners. There is a little something here for almost everyone. My only gripe with Sinter Pools is that it is a bit short, coming in at only 38 minutes total, I would have liked to hear Ionophore linger in some of these soundscapes for a bit longer. It often seems while listening that just as I'm really sinking deep into the sounds, the album is reaching its close. This is only a small issue for me however, as each of the tracks presented here is meticulously crafted into perfection.

Review written by: Michael
Rating: 8/10

Recommended by Terra Relicta

Band: Atrium Carceri
Album title: Archives I-II
Release date: 22 March 2016
Label: Cryo Chamber

The dark ambient powerhouse Atrium Carceri is back with something a little different this time around. Archives I-II looks back on the last ten years of the Atrium Carceri project. Simon Heath chose his favorite lost gems and gave them all a makeover by way of re-editing, mixing, and mastering into two long tracks totaling almost an hour and a half. Archives I-II is the first long form album by Atrium Carceri, Simon has used two long tracks, almost a full album length each. Archives I-II has everything that an Atrium Carceri fan could possibly hope to hear. Within these two tracks are many of the hallmarks of the dark ambient and specifically Atrium Carceri sound. While considering this for review I listened quietly with headphones, as well as on the metro, also with larger speakers while gaming, while going to sleep, and while reading. Archives I-II was the perfect companion in each instance. The production value and creative talents are pouring out of this release and I promise it will not get old any time soon.

Read a full review HERE