Austere - Solyaris US72
This is a creative peak for this much-overlooked ambient duo, their first release on Hypnos, following their Hypnos Secret Sounds album Pulse in 2007. In their 10 years of productivity, Austere has covered territory from Pulse's drone minimalism , ranging back through odd and trippy Coil-inspired sonic experimentation, to seamless dark ambient, and occasionally glitchy weirdness. Despite some challenging material in their back catalog, Austere have in this case produced an album as friendly and pleasant as any Austere fan could have imagined possible, and yet without resorting to the usual tricks that make music sound "listenable."
Bill Binkelman of Wind and Wire said of Austere:
"Austere is an enigmatic duo who record some of the more interesting ambient music I've heard in my six plus years of reviewing. From the swirling drones (I was gonna say "dark" drones, but ....) and eerie melancholy of Monodia to the warmth and beauty amidst minimalism of Fade... Austere are less concerned with following the path and more concerned with breaking new ground. However, they are undoubtedly enigmatic, as one would glean from the above, and shun the spotlights of media and personality."
And the Austere boys themselves, not normally prone to gushing or self-praise, say these words on the subject of this recording:
"Solyaris, our first release for 2008 e.v. on the Hypnos label is major departure from our recent emphasis on Minimalist composition, but more in the direction started by our last release, mirror, and is instead is a collection of recordings improvised and recorded "live" over a weekend session and are presented in their original form, unedited in any way aside from mastering by The Sound-O-Mat."
We here at Hypnos are likewise happy with this album, and find ourselves playing it over and over, soothed and bewildered at the strange and beautiful atmosphere. Solyaris does not fit squarely into any one genre, but it is wonderful to listen to, without being easy or without depth. The sounds could be described as the thought transmissions of benevolent aliens. They mean you no harm, and they thank you for listening!