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Alphaxone - Echoes From Outer Silence (2016) - Review

Band: Alphaxone
Album title: Echoes From Outer Silence
Release date: 23 February 2016
Label: Cryo Chamber

01. Outfield
02. Resistance
03. Nothing Era
04. Solitude
05. Sphere Of Change
06. Altered Xone
07. Revealing The Depth
08. Departure
09. Fragment

Mehdi Saleh's dark ambient project, Alphaxone, was one the first I heard on the Cryo Chamber label. The combination of field recordings and subtle yet enveloping drone work attracted me to his sound. Now back with his fourth solo release on Cryo Chamber, Alphaxone continues to improve upon his style and impress his fans with dark spacy soundscapes to awaken the spirit.

Alphaxone has made a noticeable progression between each album in honing his combination of subtlety with harsher tones. Living In The Grayland was his rawest release with harsher tones taking the lead, and the occasional moments of beauty and refinement. Altered Dimensions seemed to balance these two extremes very well, while Absence of Motion moved more to the side of refinement over harshness, with a heavy focus on field recordings and cinematics. Echoes From Outer Silence seems the most similar in style to Altered Dimensions, with a perfect balance of elegance within the cold bleak darkness. This is a recipe for success in my opinion, and makes for an album with a whole lot of replay value.

"Outfield" starts the album off as a rather barren, almost apocalyptic intro. "Resistance" expands on the concept; slow moving drones shift and flex their wavelengths over an industrial and desolate background. It is easy to imagine standing on the surface of some frozen planet gazing upon the remains of industrial mining equipment, the only remnants of some long lost civilization. "Nothing Era" is one of my favorites on the album. The combination of harsh industrial soundscapes with dream-like spacey drones seems to be executed perfectly here. There isn't a lot of activity in "Nothing Era" it's just highly meditative and captivating. "Solitude" is certainly the most subtle track, featuring a warm soothing drone over some echoing otherworldly sounds. "Sphere Of Change" changes direction, moving out of the isolated minimal feel of "Solitude" and into a more lively place, a deep drone slowly builds to its climax before opening into something that seems more aware and lively. "Altered Xone" is probably my favorite track yet by Alphaxone. A voice can be heard cutting in and out of a radio signal's static. I can't help but make a connection between this voice and the one heard in "Our Mechanical Children" by Sabled Sun. Taking this connection (which surely only exists in my mind) one step further, I can imagine some alien life form speeding through space in their vessel, flipping through the radio, only picking up the sound of a human voice for a split second, it is enough to fill the being with a sense of wonderment and they imagine what humanity may be as they continue searching for a station, finally settling on a tune with a nice futuristic beat; of course this is only one wild interpretation. "Revealing The Depth" and "Departure" are both relaxing spacey tracks with gently moving drones. However, as "Departure" comes to a close a bit of a percussion enters the mix. "Fragment" the closing track on Echoes From Outer Silence again features broken staticy radio transmissions of a woman's voice. Featured over a dark and brooding backdrop of sounds, these radio transmissions give an ominous tone to the album's closing.

I have been a huge fan of Alphaxone since I first heard Living In The Grayland, but Echoes From Outer Silence seems like the album I have truly been waiting for from Mehdi Saleh. All of the elements of his previous albums which worked so well individually seems to have been brought together here perfectly. Living In The Grayland and Altered Dimensions seemed quite abstract, while Absence Of Motion was quite alive with many things seeming to happen within the tracks. Echoes From Outer Silence brings a brilliant balance between the showcasing of lifeforms and a spacey desolation. There are all the elements present to leave the listener visualizing all sorts of fantastical realms and ideas while never loosening its grip on musical aesthetics. Echoes From Outer Silence is a brilliant album by Alphaxone. I would highly recommend this to any fan of dark ambient music, especially those who love an extra-terrestrial edge. There is also enough substance here musically to recommend this as an introduction to the genre for anyone not as familiar with dark ambient. Turn out the lights crank the stereo and open your third-eye to the infinite expanses of our universe.

Review written by: Michael
Rating: 9/10