She Spread Sorrow – Midori CD Cold Spring Records 2018
She Spread Sorrow is a solo Italian project fronted by Alice Kundalini, with Midori being her third album since 2015. In making reference to the first two albums, those were broadly promoted as being of a death industrial and power electronics type, however in truth Alice’s approach was a far more restrained and minimalist take on such styles. Thus by forgoing the typical outwardly aggressive elements, She Spread Sorrow’s sound was (and is) framed around creepy and vaguely disturbing atmospheres. To then speak of Midori, it has taken the base template of earlier material and added a heavy dose of ritual dark ambient tonalities to further widen the sound of the project. The trademark vocals also remain as a constant, where they are clearly recognizable for their drawling whispered style, being delivered in English with an obvious Italian inflected accent. In an overarching sense Midori is an album of tensile widescreen ambient soundscapes with smatterings of noisier textures and sonic elements, but those elements are clearly dialed down in tonal intensity when present. Additionally, Midori has embedded a greater use of orchestral synth pads also pushes the album towards dark ambient expression, yet are also used sparingly for added impact.
The evolution of She Spread Sorrow’s sound is then clearly demonstrated on album opener Escape, being an excellent piece of orchestral washes, muted drones, vague percussive elements, with whispered vocals mixed upfront. Following track Night One is a heavier and grim bass addled piece, but ritual chimes give it a differing overall sensibility. That ritual aspect is further amplified on The House through the use of a central ritual percussive texture against an undercurrent of minimalist layered drones. Who Are You, Midori? is of note as it features the most varied instrumentation of the album, including sweeping orchestral strings, a distant plodding piano create a darkly cinematic atmosphere, coupled with sporadic percussive hits and the trademark vocals. To The Light is an album standout based on its darkly moody sweeping orchestral framework and clearly of a neo-classical tinged dark ambient offering, while the album concludes with End of Midori, and has an almost abstract dark jazz tone due to the slow rhythmic percussion set to sweeping sub-orchestral drones.
Clearly building on what has come before, Midori is the strongest work yet from She Spread Sorrow, being an expertly crafted album which has an expanded sound palate and feels to have been created with a greater degree of compositional confidence. Clean visuals and design of the digi-pack cover rounds out the visual presentation, with full lyrics included to further outline its thematic and conceptual story-line which is clearly implied through the titles of the album’s six tracks.