The Contemporary Nocturne completes the dark ambient journey Vidna Obmana started with The Surreal Sanctuary. Those new to this genre of ambient space music will hear little that sounds like "music," and might need to redefine their "listening experience." Here, Obmana creates inky atmospheric soundscapes; though intentionally dark and disturbing, the meandering drones, dissonant harmonics, cold winds, reedy fugara flutes, and soul-searching tones of the E-Bow guitar (played by fellow space music composer Steve Roach on "Changing the Odyssee") can be surprisingly serene. The album begins with "Duel," a brief fanfare, a dizzying, reedy, windy swirl of processed flute sounds not unlike squinting through a sonic dust storm. The fugara figures prominently on "A Platform of Sorrow," the most sonically disturbing track of the album. Here, a brief melodic sequence repeats, blaring more like a truck horn than an ambient texture. "The Gaze in Dissonance" gently whisks the listener through a gongy obsidian-like cavern passageway to experience "Mute Grief," where the reedy solo seems to grasp blindly. If the listener is really ready to experience this, fully, the piece could be a life-altering experience, allowing the self to float free of past entanglements. The overtone chanting on "Revelation" brings a warmer resonant quality to the album, as does the plucked double bass on "Infinity." Although the music might seem aimless or chaotic, just sounds, Obmana always gives some tone, melody, or texture to relate to or ride on, like a thin line of twine through a cavern. Even people who know how to intentionally "trip" with this sort of music might admit that they don't "like" this or similar albums. This is not about popularity or comfort. The Contemporary Nocturne is a catalyst where you deliver the raw material: you.
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