| Artist: Numina/Caul|
CD Title: Inside the Hollow Realm
Label: Gestalt Records
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Inside the Hollow Realm finds formidable ambient/ethereal artists Jesse Sola (Numina) and Brett Smith (Caul) collaborating on a 12 song tour de force (or, more appropriately, tour de atmosphere). Divided into three sections or acts that effectively work as three very distinct parts of the whole, the release is a relatively diverse and interesting ambient outing that showcases the artists' strong sound processing skills and knack at layering and crafting effective sound pieces.
Beginning with an act titled Collapse of the Spiral Spire, the album builds something of a narrative. The opening wind-whipped landscape of "Serpent Sounds" gives way to powerful electronic percussion before slowly dissolving into moodier, less straightforward ambience over the next two tracks and bringing motif into play on the fourth with a drum rhythm reminiscent of that of "Serpent Sounds". The disc's second 4-song set, subtitled The Molten Void, is perhaps its most interesting, effectively blending wailing processed noise, ambient ebbs and flows, droning analog electronics, and occasional underlying percussive phrases while making excellent use of contrasting dissonance and harmonies. It's an exceptionally well-done and somewhat unsettling musical passage. The album's finale, A Distant Pass Fades, is a sparser, airier set (not so much in mood as in spatial layout and use of reverb and delay), with metallic and bell-like tones echoing and swirling beneath droning synths.
Inside the Hollow Realm, as a whole, is a strong ambient release with an interesting stylistic range, from the dark, moody claustrophobia of tracks like "Descent into Darkness" to the sparse, airy drone of pieces like "The Seer". It's a well assembled musical outing by two fairly prolific ambient artists that will likely please fans of both as well as ambient/ethereal enthusiasts in general.
Numina website: www.numinamusic.com
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