Vidna Obmana - Landscape in Obscurity hyp1914
Explorations into unmapped landscapes... Vidna Obmana is Europe's foremost practitioner of atmospheric and tribal ambient sounds, and already has nearly twenty CD releases to his credit. He is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Steve Roach, including "Cavern of Sirens," "Well of Souls," and "Ascension of Shadows," but solo works such as the recent "Crossing the Trail" and "River of Appearances" make a powerful and unique artistic statement. LANDSCAPE IN OBSCURITY, a long, exploratory driftscape, integrates spacious and atmospheric performances on flute and saxophone (by Italy's Capriolo Trifoglio and Diego Borotti) with the familiar sonic clouds of Vidna Obmana's own electronic and acoustic instrument mix. This is a journey of almost 70 minutes of luminous, airy ambience. Smooth, subtle and unobtrusive, yet at the same time sonically complex and illuminating, this CD works fantastically on "repeat" mode for hours on end. Wonderful for meditation or as background for sleep or creative work, this is one of Vidna Obmana's most minimal and truly "ambient" pieces in recent years.
Landscape in Obscurity is a single, long-form piece, about 69 minutes in length. We have excerpted sections from early, middle and late portions of the long track to give listeners a sense of how it sounds throughout. 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
"His first release on the Hypnos label, Vidna Obmana's 'Landscape in Obscurity' is an impressionistic study of isolation, memory and lament. Somber saxophone leads and floating flute lines (by Italy's Capriolo Trifoglio and Diego Borotti) mix with clouds of floating electronic ambience to evoke a feeling of isolation a cold city gives off in the dead of night."
- Chuck VanZyl, Stars' End, WXPN, Philadelphia
"Perhaps the most compelling aspect of this union is the unusual sense of harmony this trio shares despite their choice of instruments. Drifting through the grey areas between the soothing and familiar, the surreal and uncharted, this project blurs the preconceived barriers between classical and contemporary. With another artistic triumph to his credit, Vidna Obmana further demonstrates his thorough insight into the language of amorphous sound."
- Adam M. Bialek/Outburn (USA)
"...minimal atmospherics that blossom with beauty and wonder.... basked in a luminous, pristine glow, easily one of my favorite releases from Vidna Obmana."
--John C. Smith, Side-Line
"Ten Best of 1999."
-- Stephen Fruitman, on the Ambient Music mailing list
"...excellent dark ambient."
--Massimo Pavan, Italy
"His first release on the Hypnos label, Vidna Obmana's "Landscape in Obscurity" is an impressionistic study of isolation, memory and lament. Somber saxophone leads and floating flute lines (by Italy's Caprio Trifoglio and Diego Borotti) mix with clouds of floating electronic ambience to evoke a feeling of isolation a cold city gives off in the dead of night."
--Chuck VanZyl, Star's End Radio, WXPN, Philadelphia
"Vidna Obmana - Belgian Dirk Serries to those in the know - is one of the most prolific artists on the ambient music scene, collaborating extensively with among others Steve Roach and, on this album, with two Italian musicians, Capriolo Trifoglio and Diego Borotti on flute and saxophone. The music is the result of the re-cycling of tapes made during a live performance ten years ago, in a process inspired by Vidna's work with Asmus Tietchens. The addition of carefully selected sections of the sax and flute performances adds a lighter and speedier element to the music, which for the first 20 minutes or so consists of huge, dark string orchestra-like chords. As the distant flutes appear the music lightens up slightly, with tiny, reverberant percussive noises also floating into the foreground. Obvious comparisons are with Steve Roach and to some extent with Brian Eno (certainly in the fact that the epic album consists of only one piece), althogh Obmana's textures are generally darker and more abstract than the majority of Eno's work. The applications of the music are far from obvious - clearly it could become an almost unchanging background piece played at low volume, but on closer listening there is a lot going on sonically, as well as plentiful movement around the stereo spectrum. But don't expect too much in the way of chordal or textural development, and certainly take Vidna's reference to a "jazzy fusion of classic and contemporary elements" on the sleeve with a pinch of salt - there's very little in the way of jazz here! Along with Vidna Obmana's album, the US-based Hypnos label seems to be releasing some interesting stuff in the ambient music field, with further releases from Richard Bone among others, and is well worth keeping an eye on for enthusiasts of this style. Rating: **** Four Stars - an excellent album of its kind."
--Mark Jenkins E-Mix magazine
"Vidna Obmana has been prolific this year, collaborating with various musicians and continuing to reissue his early albums on the Memories Compiled series. The two titles here are recent collaborations, both revealing divergent and enterprising new directions. Landscape in Obscurity clocks in at 68'40 and is an extraordinarily innovative suite featuring synths, recycling, and tapes which include selected performances by flute and sax players Capriolo Trifoglio and Diego Borotti. This is ambient music of fathomless depth, on the surface the atmospheres are melodic and uplifting, clouds of sound that waft through tunnels and chambers. Melding in with the waves of synth chords are the heavily treated sax and flute lines which meld flawlessly with the plush musical texture. While ambient music often has long chordal drifts, the presence of flute and sax lines intertwining amongst varying layers of the sound creates unearthly harmonies and tonal complexity that is unusual for the style. It is a great success, an album that lends itself to repeated listenings."
--Mike McLatchey, Expose Magazine
"I'm not entirely sure when this record came out, early 1999, I'd say, or somewhere thereabouts, but it wasn't until recently that I discovered this fine recording. In the liner notes, Obmana talks about how this project came about, mentioning that the source music was recorded `almost 10 years ago' in a series of live performances with Italian musicians Capriola Trifolio and Diego Borotti and how the idea of recycling music brought this single-movement recording into existence. This is a very subtle and very vague recording, that Hypnos Ambient Minimalism. But there's something about the vagueness that really appeals to me, it's like the verse from Tao Te Ching that says when `nothing is done, nothing is left undone.' This record is the perfect marriage of the contemplative sonic tapestry and substantial musical composition. In my review of A Produce and M. Griffin's Altara I refer to the music as being on the most basic level of organized sound, this record has that same kind of quality, that point at which it becomes more than music, it becomes part of the ether. Obmana's strong production abilities really stand out on this record. His treatment of the Flute and Saxophone keep them in the sonic fabric just enough not to take away from the tapestry's slowly evolving sonic brilliance, but just enough to make use of Trifolio and Borotti's unique woodwind contributions. Another Hypnos recording that gets a great review from The Organization of Sound. I'm not familiar with Obmana's music enough to compare it to his other work, but I can say that Landscape In Obscurity is a stand-alone gem."
--The Organization of Sound, reviewed by Matt Borghi
"Listening to this long ambient album by Obmana is like gazing into a shimmering pool of water in a secluded shadowy garden. It is restful and quiet and it makes no demands on your tired mind. Usually I associate the Belgian Vidna Obmana with dreary hours of melancholy electronic droning but this piece by him has a much lighter, sweeter sound to it. Some of this is due to his use of flute and saxophone riffs, most of them electronically loop-repeated, by a pair of Italian avant-garde jazzmen, Capriolo Trifoglio and Diego Borotti. Another factor in this nicer sound is that Obmana has chosen to use a more “major” harmonic atmosphere rather than the “minor” or microtonal harmonies of his other works.