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Tertium Organum - Alud (2016) - Review

Band: Tertium Organum
Album title: Alud
Release date: 14 July 2016
Label: Kalpamantra

01. Infinitum
02. Black Matter
03. Aeon
04. Cosmic Wyrd
05. Naos
06. Ipsi Scitis
07. Octo Ostium
08. End

Tertium Organum has released their second full length through Kalpamantra net-label, entitled Alud. Tertium Organum is one of the three projects by the mysterious creator who is also responsible for Aegri Somnia, releasing the debut Monde Obscure last year through Cryo Chamber and contributing to the upcoming massive collaborative opus Nyarlathotep, the third project being Efil, having released the album Anti, also through Kalpamantra. Each of these projects brings out a different side of his style. Where Aegri Somnia seems to have a highly cinematic and field recording centered presentation, Tertium Organum fits more neatly within the realms of the classic style of dark ambient. On Alud, we will surely find a healthy portion of field recordings, but the focus has shifted to the presentation of drones, synths, and other instrumentation, with very little in the way of cinematic cues.

Alud is one of those albums which is quite hard to put into words. The overall themes of the album lend themselves to a dark, sinister, otherworldly atmosphere. With no focus on cinematic cues, the ante has been raised on the emotions and atmospheres conjured through drone textures. Tertium Organum has brilliantly sculpted Alud with a master's precision. Each track has a different feel, yet the totality of the album is well organized and coherent.

With Alud, we are no longer on the Earth's surface. The atmospheres here are totally alien, taking place deep in the black expanses of space. "Infinitum" introduces the album with the only track presented which I would characterize as ritual dark ambient. It is almost as if we, the listeners, are being initiated into some cult before we are allowed to witness the miracles of deep space. After the introduction and our acceptance we move on to "Black Matter", a track which is heavy on the drones and field recordings, exuding a sort of electrical-storm feel with a high pitched airy sound lingering in the background. The most out of place element to this track for me is the use of what sounds to be a rainstorm in the background; I don't quite understand how this fits into the greater concept here, but that is not to say that the track isn't perfectly fantastic. As we move into "Aeon" we are given an exquisite example of drone ambient at its finest. There is little in "Aeon" to categorize or mention specifically, but the overall feel and evolution of the track is quite magnificent. As "Aeon" rolls to its close we are given something out of the ordinary for one of the fleeting moments on Alud, a short yet poignant cello piece closes out the track, giving it a feel which could almost be comparable to The Caretaker, yet it returns to the void as quickly as it surfaced. "Cosmic Wyrd" is in my opinion the crowning achievement on Alud, another magnificent drone heavy dark ambient track which could be compared to the style found on Yen Pox - Blood Music, albeit with a spacier feel. Again there is little specifically to say about the track, the beauty is in the evolving drones and the well placed field recordings, which all come together to form a brilliant example of the dark ambient style most often found in the early years of this millennium. The title track "Alud" is one more example of this magnificent use of standard dark ambient tactics, the evolving drones and field recordings are top notch, and the feeling on this track is truly sinister. On the closing track "End" we are given the heaviest does of crushing drone-work on Alud, which in its final moment takes the format of a decent bit of recent dark ambient releases, especially those on Cryo Chamber, who have been ending the album with more traditional sounds and instrumentation, often incorporating percussion for the only time on the entire album. As is the case with many of the Cryo Chamber releases which I refer to, Alud is given a proper and fitting close in this format, leaving the listener refreshed after the deeply sinister feel expressed throughout the last hour of music. Endings like these seem to beg the listener to put it on repeat and keep listening to this album long into the darkness of night.

Tertium Organum has produced a brilliant dark ambient album, which takes its style from some of the greats of the genre, without ever seeming to rip them off. This is dark ambient in its purest and finest form. With no cinematics or narratives to hold its hand, the entirety of the judgement lies in the sonic manipulations, the evolving drones, the minimal insertion of field-recordings. Entering this well traveled territory can often lead an artist into the murk of so many other similar releases, yet with Alud, Tertium Organum has managed to produce something which feels totally fresh, despite its frequent familiarity. I would recommend Alud to fans of Yen Pox, Inade, and especially those who enjoyed the recent Azathoth collaboration on Cryo Chamber as Alud has many similarities in style to the crushing density of Azathoth. You will find there is a high level of replay value, as much of the album is produced around evolving drone and atmospheric field recordings, which don't tend to feel overplayed in short order. Between the projects of Aegri Somnia, Tertium Organum and Efil, it is quite obvious that the man behind the music takes his work very seriously and has a natural talent for building these magnificent soundscapes. Highly recommended and purely dark ambient.

Review written by: Michael
Rating: 9/10