Hall of Mirrors – Altered Nights DCD Malignant Records 2012
Hall of Mirrors constitutes a collaborative duo, consisting of Amon member Andrea Marutti and Giuseppe Verticchio of Nimh. Although having not heard any of Nimh’s releases, I am well versed is the sweeping cavernous dark ambient works of Amon, which was clearly enough to garner my interest in this.
Regarding the material presented on Altered Nights (Hall of Mirrors third album), it is expansive to say the least, spanning 2 discs and around 100 minutes of desolate, brooding dark ambience. ‘Night 1: The Meeting’ kicks off the first disc, and quite quickly builds in to a multi-faceted dark ambient / drone-scape which teeters on the edge of abrasiveness. ‘Night 2: Invocation’ arrives next, sprawling over 20 minutes, and is calmer and more organic and in tone than the first, with a watery ebb and flow to the multi-faceted drones. Although ‘Night 3: Magmatic Resonance’ may commence in murky cavernous depths, it slow ascends into a quite animated and forceful frame, which seems to multiple in intensity through the introduction of a stratum of flowing / sweeping layers and disharmonic wailing tones. Mining a slightly different sound, ‘Night 4: Immaterial Bodies’ flirts within an ethno ambient tone, with it shimmering sound textures, and the vague rhythmic effect created by the various sound loops.
On the second CD, it reveals a single 45 minute track ‘Last Night: Late Summer Ceremony’, which gradually builds into a stormy crescendo of jagged droning frequencies, before reaching a calmer plateau with a sparse melancholic melody. This calm section however is relatively short lived, as through the mid section the track builds back up to a serrated, swirling tonal range. Towards the conclusion of the album, the lead out section of this track is excellent (and dare a say it) beautiful and serene in sound, with a calm sweeping undercurrent and sustained harmonic tones.
Within a broad drone / dark ambient framework, the five tracks across 2 CD’s reaches both spiralling heights and cavernous depths, and spans a sonic spectrum from stormy to calm, resulting in a meticulously constructed and nuanced album.