Ariel

Big to the Sky

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One thing that ambient/darkwave/ethereal bands have going for them is a broad sense of soundtrack. Natural music for head movies, Ariel uses texture and dissonance to create stark, frozen-tundra temperaments much as the Cure did early (both "The Death of Me," which reminds of "Give Me It," and "Unforgotten," which reminds of "The Hanging Garden," seem to have a lot of Pornography and The Top elements to them; in fact, singer Ali Jafri's voice is a dead ringer for Robert Smith, and the Cranes have since. What sets Ariel apart, though, is the sitar whine and other Eastern sounds not usually integrated into this genre, and not found on their 1997 debut, Withdrawn. "Tumharay Liveh" and others keep the sweeping, pretty claustrophobia, but add these extra elements to create their own cranny of the genre. Rather hypnotic, at that. (2238 Dundas St. W., #59101, Toronto, ON, M6R 3B5, Canada; plan11@interlog.com)