Alio Die / Sylvi Alli — Amidst the Circling Spires
(Projekt 292, 2014, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-01-08
Alio Die is the artistic nom-de-plume of Italian ambient dronescape composer Stefano Musso, releasing over two dozen releases either on his own or in collaboration with others since the early 90s. His is a name one can rely on for top shelf floating ambient music; his 2003 collaboration Expanding Horizons with Matthias Grassow is a case in point: pure magic, a 2LP set that continues to fascinate and enthrall me no matter how many times I listen to it. The other five-or-so releases I’ve heard carry a similar spellbinding quality. For Amidst the Circling Spires, he has teamed up with Berkeley, California based vocalist Sylvi Alli for what is at once a dark, mysterious and emotional journey through electro-ambient space, with gentle shimmering touches of gothic and medieval worlds. Alio Die for his part provides the sounding board based on loops of bells, gongs, percussion, zither, kalimba, and found sounds, all heavily layered and treated, creating the perfect studio textures over which Alli’s voice can float freely. Additional guests provide zither, e-bow, electronics and effects, track depending. There are seven long tracks in all, the approach of each is similar, only the instrumentation and voice trajectories change, with seemingly real-time improvisations creating trance-like atmospheres that a listener can easily get lost within. This is one of those discs you’ll want to set on endless repeat and listen to over and over until the first light of day arrives.
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