I.Corax – Cella Phantasma CD Aural Hypnox 2013
Here is yet another new release on the reactivated Aural Hynox label and a further addition to the Underworld Editions sub-label series. This release also sees I.Corax being formally welcomed to the Aural Hypnox roster with ‘Cella Phantasma’ constituting the very first recording session from the group (dating back to 1999), which has until now remained unreleased.
Without any elaboration the use of the terms ‘dark ambient’ and ‘drone’ can be rather vague descriptors, particularly given the wide reaching sounds and styles which are captured under this banner. Therefore to be a bit more creative the sound of I.Corax resides within a spectral netherworld, located on a plain somewhere between the real and spiritual realms. This description can be further put into context with a cross reference to label mate Halo Manash, whose use of real instrumentation is rooted in humanistic expression and attempted communion with the dream and spirit world. Alternately as I.Corax has fewer inherent sonic markers to indicate being the product of human hands, consequently their sound is more akin to emanations from a spectral realm.
‘Hunt’ is the first of four compositions being a track built on abstract sweeping tones, shimmering textures, a prominent (vaguely metallic) rhythmic pulse and a range of shadowy chanted vocals to provide a mysterious and ghostly atmosphere. Spanning an expansive 13 minutes it is a solid and engaging opening. Second offering ‘Kneeler’ then opts for a slightly denser droning framework, complimented with metallic scrapping textures and echoed otherworldly insectoid rhythms which provides a highly distinctive sound quality. This chthonian atmosphere bleeds into ‘Naos’, again driven by eerie tribalesque rhythms and disembodied vocalisations, which all feel as if focused towards a direct ritualised intent. For the final of the four tracks ‘Nexion’ it concludes the album on a slightly more subdued note. Here the composition constitutes a floating miasma of sound, evoked through layered field recordings, minimalist droning synth notes, ritual percussive implements and abstract metallic scraping textures.
Simmilar to the other releases in the Underworld Editions series, this has been issued in a limited run of 350 CDs and 50 cassettes, packaged in a screen printed raw cardboard box, with hand printed and photographic inserts. Although (again) on the shorter side at 36 minutes, the four presented tracks are absolutely worthy of detailed investigation. The release of this early recording of I.Corax is a welcomed one, noting also that all other earlier albums are due to be re-released on Aural Hypnox in the not too distant future.