Sunday, November 18, 2012

ULI Reviews: Ass-OlO's Infera Trilogia

The way I do a review is not standard but more of a look into what it sounds like and what images it brings to mind. It is more of a visualization of what the sounds create. I look at how the elements affect my mental state and the vision that it constructs. I ask: What images does this album draw forth? What taste does it leave in the mind? How do these sounds blend together and what is generated?

This is a triptych called Infera Trilogia created by the group Ass-OlO. Ass-OlO is a solo side project by Daniele D. of the Barbarian pipe Band.  This group is an experimental electronic group that produces abstract and ambient soundscapes and has been active for two and a half years. The sounds they use bring out elements of rituals practiced in spaces long forgotten by the recesses of time. This album is an interesting look into their world. It is bleak and lonely place, but it is intriguing to listen to this place they have created because it awakens a mythical presence. Ass-OlO treats sound almost a religious theme through the eyes of Milton’s Paradise Lost if it were set in the world of Blade Runner. Sonic elements include synths, ambient soundscapes and voices that come out of the darkness.The album opens like a film with long dramatic lines dark and mysterious. Breathing out sounds reminiscent of Legeti’s Lux Aeterna. Ambient from its beginning with a droning tone that lingers and changes as time goes on. Later sounds of vocals creep in. Machines make their presence. Following that there is a rhythm that begins to take shape. The album is in three parts. A triptych of tones which take us on a voyage through the underworld.

Here is a little back-story about the contents of the album from the artist:

“About the new album "Infera Trilogia" it's a soundtrack about a personal journey. It speaks about three archetypal forces and their interaction with our reality. These three forces have names of greater demons. A "demon" is a creature beyond good and evil.... It is a powerful natural force, but dangerous because of its unpredictability. There isn’t anything satanic about this work; this is not a work of horror but it is about introspection. This work contains esoteric symbols and alchemical references.

The use of the Italian language is a brave decision. Most of the world uses English to communicate and I thought a lot before making this decision. There are only two tracks with lyrics. Semjaza has Italian lyrics, but the audio is reversed causing it to sound very much like another language. The second is Laylah (Lilith ) where there is a dialogue from the father (God: me) and his daughter (Lilith: Hilary Snuff.) The dialogue is the moment when Lilith leaves her father. She leaves for eternity and starts her personal path as goddess. She was criticized and judged by god because she had the courage to assert its position as the first woman of creation. She represents the feminine rebellion against god. This is a remembrance of the oldest fertility religions and opposes monotheistic religions where all the gods are male.” - Daniele D.

I leave it up to you to decide what it brings to you. Listen to their album and download it here:

This is my interpretation of what transpires on this album:  

Infera Trilogia

Part I – Semjaza 
The opening color is gray. I imagine the slow motions of a dying horse, broken under its own weight, giving up the fight of life. Maybe days will go past. Maybe hours. As the hours move the horse fades. No longer retaining its shape.

A man then jumps off of a cliff because he was being chased and he would rather die free than by the hands of his pursuer. You never see the pursuer but you hear the purring of wings. A distant horizon is seen for the first time. Just talking and shadows as the man fades from existence. Who was this man?

The landscape hard and broken. A stage for its inhabitants that are barely living. It is a waste, poisoned by years passing by. This the abandoned plain. There must be a reason we are cursed to be here. We all stare into the gathering night. 

The sounds of fire, burning alone in a concrete building as it rains. It is abandoned. Left to steam. Left burning in the rain. Smoke unfurling into that inky black night. The scent mingling in the air. There is damage here. Damage that no one would believe. Damage beyond the comprehension of man.

Part II – Asmodai (Aeshma-Daeva)

Waking up. Endlessly. It becomes motion of machines. Again asleep. Again awake. Again asleep. Waiting to breathe. Struggling for the breath that you need. You can taste the pain and blood as the foul air enters your veins.

It feels like life under a train station. An image of an inverted machine made Egyptian citadel comes to mind.  Existing in discarded hallows under this ancient city. Sickened by the filth and flu. You look out from your underground tower on to this landscape. Asmodai. Flies populate this place. They occupy the landscape like it is tender meat. There is constant motion on these walls. Crawling on every surface. Tasting every texture.

These many entities exist. Clinging and shifting in places unreachable by man. There is a saccharine shade of color for each surface that is slick and wet. The odor is overwhelming, bleeding with decay. Often have you attempted to communicate with a lonely scream but nothing has come back to you besides the sounds of so many small wings. What do they eat? Why can’t you be seen? An old evil lurks here. The shadows are multifaceted and drain way light.

Part III – Laylah (Lilith)

Slow sounds build as you look back at the horizon, almost blinded by the lack of color. You are walking on a gray landscape. You pass lonely structures and people toiling in the field. You wait for something so pass in front of your path but instead it joins you upon that road. A wooden cart lead by beast of burden, it resembles a horse but so twisted with age it has become another being. How has time created such a hideous thing? Time shows upon the weary animals face. The beast’s hooves lead on with unsure footing. It stumbles; it almost falls under the weight. Your mind moves with it, it thinks of all of the miles carrying a load, the contents of the load will remain forever unknown. Once a delicate animal, nothing remains of that, it has become hardened and coarse over the years. Why does this animal know nothing of peace? This is the animal that fades in the first scene. You know this now. You recognize it as it fades. Why do you remember something that has not yet happened, what foul tricks have come out of this age.

There is a conversation. A young one asks a question. The sound of this voice brings us forward, the voice brings us back into the present. Is there an answer? Sounds stir in the night. Why? Is this the voice of Lilith? Is this the Lilith Goddess of the Night known only by the Jewish exiles in Babylon? What does she speak of? A drone of a machine reminds us that we have never left this place under the train station. What a home it is to live under the machines. Can this place be both the abandoned plain and home of the Asmodai under the city? It does not seem possible but it is true. That two distinct places occupy the same physical reality and her voice rings through them both and fades into the recesses of this neglected place. This is the beginning of her journey, her first steps ripple through the abyss, she has moved beyond time. She has left this place, no longer bound by its laws.

There is a grinding of teeth and a prayer of the last sinner. Things were very dark here but the sounds of synthetic beings bring it back from the ocean. Their alien tongue speaking in frequencies only known to them. Just for a single moment of clarity, the mind is emptied. Every day was a waste. Just looking for something in which to believe. Yet there is nothing that can change the outcome now, we have already been judged for our sins. The ancient ones wait, they call upon the elder names. Semjaza, watchers of the sacrifice hold on to their ritual. We all fade. The endless night covers everything even overwhelming distant stars.

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