CLOSING THE ETERNITY is a Siberian “cosmic drone” project from Ekaterinburg and with only a few released CDRs so far, it gained already kind of cult status for lovers of bleak drone-minimalism. The first vinyl release shows CTE using original “northern lights soundings” together with synths, implementing very cosmic soundwaves with electronic whirs, sinus-tones and small raspy crater-landscapes inside. There’s a drift towards objectlessness and dissolution in these sounds where they undergo into non-existence or is it transformation into a higher existing form? This is the perfect soundtrack to the “red dawn of the north”.
The name of this release coupled with its sound suggests scenes of snowy landscapes under an aurora borealis which is however ominous and bleak, no colors hanging from the sky only shades of grey maculating the horizon. Waves of flickering noise cast a strange calmness, charged with a certain sadness. The second track continues in the same way but with a little bit lighter atmosphere. The artist performs aurally what and how he feels and sees his siberian homeland. Northern lights ambience is impressing in how it expesses the sentiments of its creator. This release comes in a vinyl 7” ep.
CLOSING THE ETERNITY hail from Siberia, Jekaterinburg to be precise and they use recordings of Northern Light together with a bunch of synthesizers. There is a strong sense of cosmic music around these two pieces. The b-side has a lot of crackles, which at first I thought were coming from the pressing, but they turn out to be part of the music. This makes this cosmic trip into lesser an angelic one and more a scary ride trough the intergalactic. Scary but nice.
The Northern Light (Aurora borealis) is a well known picture for desire and this mysterious phenomenon found its way often into the arrangement of ambient releases. thus “closing the eternity” play “northern light ambient” and offer us an attractive, wonderful and mysterious sound landscape which is better kept on cd for further development: waving areas, decent squeaks appear and disappear, sucking and rattling accents emerge however it dominates the “drone-sphere”. A metallic band symbol is attached to the cover.
Off the recent Drone output, this is surely my favourite ep, and a very nice surprise from this Siberian project, which had previously released some cdrs I haven’t listened to. The press release defines this as “Aurora Borealis-Drones” which is surely an effective way to put it, also considering that the two pieces allegedly contain “northern lights soundings”. I still wonder what they are: magnetic disturbances, maybe? Anyway, both tracks are very powerful, hypnotic and well constructed though using minimal means, i.e. synth tones and the above mentioned noises. Dark hlue vinyl and CRAZY packaging with a laser-cut metal logo (!).
The new batch of releases on the German Drone Records — which always come in three’s — holds this time a Siberian project under the name “Closing the Eternity”. With their “Northern Lights Ambience” in two parts they explore the sonic beauty which is the aurora borealis. Deep layers of pads and reverbs form the basics on side a. Accompanied by intense high pitched noises and beautifully balanced static crackling it might remind the listener to some works of NeX — who also is from the former USSR, albeit from the complete opposite side. Soundwise the two sides are very clearly connected, but in atmosphere there are subtle differences. While the first side breathes a much more descriptional atmosphere of the northern light, the reverse side is much more intrusive and feels like you’re watching the northern lights — maybe even feeling guilty of observing the beauty that is aurora borealis.
Closing The Eternity sound like some lost dusty old tape, slightly warped from laying unused in an old box a the bottom of some forgotten crawlspace. Warped and warbling whirs, a bit like some old William Basinksi 78 played on a rickety old turntable, with a damaged speed mechanism, causing the tempo to fluctuate and subtly shift. Eventually, this antique warble is overtaken by dense melodic washes of more and more drone, layer after layer, a huge dense drift of sound. The B side is a bit more abstract, a sound much more cavernous and haunting, a delicate slow burning whir. First Edition. LIMITED TO 300 COPIES! Clear swirled blue vinyl. Plain black sleeve with a little silver metallic plastic emblem affixed to the front. Includes liner notes and insert.
I can’t help but feel that there is something incredibly primal and powerful about drone music that seems to resonate within us and that has the ability to open the way to an altered state or awaken an acute sense of feeling very small and insignificant on the grand scale of the near-infinite universe. Not for nothing has the drone been employed by mystics and shamans in ritual ceremonies, meditative practices and sacred tribal music. They knew a thing or two about communing with nature and the universe, you see. Even the western church has learnt from the ancients and employed elements of drone in hymns written for our grand pipe organs. The hypnotic power of the drone seems able to tap into a subconscious vein and elevate the listener to a state of heightened awareness, such is its innate potency. And such was the feeling that stirred within me when I listened to CLOSING THE ETERNITY’s latest release on Drone Records, ‘Northern Lights Ambience: Parts I & II’. Over the course of the two minimal, cosmic drone tracks on ‘Northern Lights Ambience’ I was assailed and captivated by feelings of great distance, of solitude and remoteness and of a cold beauty that radiated from the music in the manner of an aural seduction. This is drone music expertly crafted and realised. However, before we get to the review proper, some biography would no doubt be useful for those that have not yet made the acquaintance with CLOSING THE ETERNITY.
Originating from Ekateringberg in the cold lands of Siberia, the creative force behind CLOSING THE ETERNITY is the enigmatically and anonymously named 121. As becomes evident from the CLOSING THE ETERNITY website there is a whole catalogue of material not as yet released which is a great shame because, if the 2006 mCD release ‘Arctica’ and the 2006 CD collaboration with AD LUX TENEBRAE, ‘Nearly Being’, are anything to go by, they will definitely be of interest to drone addicts everywhere that need their fix of high quality material. Lets hope they eventually see the light of day!!
As with all Drone Records releases ‘Northern Lights Ambience’ is a vinyl only release and is released as a 7” in a strictly limited quantity of 300 pieces. The record itself comes in dark blue vinyl under a black cover that has been embossed with a handmade, laser-cut ‘Closing The Eternity’ Logo/Key. Destined to become a collectors item, surely. This release is described as Aurora Borealis-drones for lovers of bleak drone minimalism which leads us, now, to consider the music itself.
In ‘Northern Lights Ambience I’ cold stellar pads are delicately laced with nebulous drone washes that shape-shift through a sea of amorphous sound, fizzing and crackling like electric fields releasing their static energy. This is the sound of the last decaying vestiges of the cosmic heat radiation that permeates the universe transformed into a slowly evolving glacial soundscape, expansive and shimmering in a continuous state of sonic flux. This is cosmic drone music of great beauty, cold and stark and reminiscent of Jesse Sole’s Nominal. Indelibly printed in the music is a timeless sense of great solitude and immeasurable space, a feeling of standing in isolation on a vast Siberian tundra underneath a cold, clear sky bathed in the diffuse glow from an infinite number of stars that shimmer in a firmament that offers itself up as the stage on which the Northern Lights play out their cyclical, incandescent displays of magical, natural beauty. Crackles of static noise reflect the reality of action over near infinite distances as light from stars at the edge of knowing impinge upon our reality in a collision of electric fields at journeys end.
Northern Lights Ambience II is awash with sine tones borne of solitude and loneliness at the edges of existence carried onward by vast waves of celestial white noise and static hum. The crackle and sizzle of rippling energy field’s beats against the amorphous sound canvas that Closing The Eternity creates sounding for the entire world like bursts of primeval electricity travelling through some great cosmic wire. If ‘Northern Lights Ambience I’ represents the subtle, opening overtures of the Aurora Borealis then ‘Northern Lights Ambience II’ is a sudden, flickering burst of activity high in the atmosphere that builds in intensity and urgency. The white noise and static crackles grow in stature and magnificence and give rise to sonorous, reverberating metallic echoes that hint at cosmic particle streams impacting at high energy within the atmosphere many miles above the earth. The track is punctuated by a lull in the coruscating sonics that gives way to strands and filaments of processed noise that ebb and flow in the void like waves on some great celestial ocean. This is cold and distant and hauntingly beautiful and signifies a slow fade and descent as the ‘red dawn of the north’ slowly evaporates away into an all pervading silence and nothingness.
If bleak, minimal cosmic drone music feeds the flame of your musical desires, then ‘Northern Lights Ambience’ is fuel for just under eighteen heavenly minutes of blissed-out, transcendental, minimalist drone listening pleasure. This is fantastic, evocative and moving music. I cannot praise this release highly enough………!!!
There could hardly have been a more suitable opener for the “Cryopshere” sampler of the newly founded Glacial Movements label than “Pulse of Iceilence” by CLOSING THE ETERNITY – and not only because 121, the artist behind the project, hails from Siberia himself. In some mysterious way, the music by this man echoes not only the sombre mood of the darker days of the year, but of the entire Russian soul, that enigmatic phenomenon vaguely described by Tolstoi, Dostojevski or Bulgakov, which comes to us in the form of the loner, the dreamer, the lost sinner and the defeatist, with a smile on his face and a tear in his eye. No wonder, then, that “Northern Lights Ambience” strays from the packed streets of the city and retreats to the beauty of nature, to the place where even the saddest heart can come to rest.
It certainly is no place for irony. You may call this record kitschy or self-indulgent, write it off as unsurprising or deride it as pessimistic, but you can not laugh at it. There is something “real” about it, a tangible discomfort, a material pain engraved in the grooves of the vinyl. It is in the way the darkly blue shimmering 7" slips out of the black cover, with the CLOSING THE ETERNITY-logo glued onto it like a piece of glass cut out of a silver mirror. It is the way the A-side commences with a sorrowful string ensemble caught up in the middle of a fog-clouded forest, the washes of cold air covering up the musicians and then again dissolving for fractions of a second., the way the mood struggles on with heavy knees, relentless und unchanging, bleak sounds and nightly gaggles dropping in and out of the picture. On the surface, the fundamentals have stayed intact, the haunting melodies and melancholic harmonies, but as one closes in, all movement disappears. On the B-side, glassy stalagtites hang from a crackling sky, red and orange convulsions exploding inside the grey. Frizzling and sizzling noises everywhere, but who knows what’s cooking – the needle of the player or Hanibal Lector adding wine to the cerebrum? 121’s methods are the basic tools of the genre, he carefully layers his drones until the mind falls for the illusion of space, he blows his sonic objects up with reverb like doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to an Alien egg and distorts all aural events into oblivion. Yet what was one to expect? More than on any previous Drone Records release, you know how the music was conceived, you know how it works and still you can not ignore it, put it aside like the latest “Robbie Williams” album. “Northern Lights Ambience” does something to you, the way that the recognisable but cryptic proceedings of an orthodox mass can do something to you if only the synapses are open.
You flip the disc, listen to it again, hearing the same instruments, the same structures and yet the impact remains. Everyone is free to find the answer to this paradoxon for himself, but its root must lie in the Russian soul, which time and time again breaks through the seemingly obvious sounds like a shadow follows a man wherever he may go to – to his wedding, to a funeral or to the gallows. It is somehow characteristic that CLOSING THE ETERNITY have recorded an entire catalogue of albums, which still remain unreleased, just freezing in the Siberian cold, shivering on some hard disc in Ekaterinenburg. You can find that bizarre or surreal – but you sure as hell can’t laugh at it.