Artistry of Exhaustion III: a smooth but still quite dark ambient work

Carbonscape, Artistry of Exhaustion III, www.carbonscape.bandcomp.com (2012)

Another online ambient offering from Tad Piecka who masterminds the black metal project Petrychor, this follows on from “Artistry of Exhaustion II”, also available online. Whereas that project drew on the sounds of nature, this offering takes on orchestral music, space music and ambient music from the 1990s, according to the website information. On the whole, this seems a calmer if less invigorating release than its predecessor: the music is smoother and less jagged in its delivery but it can be lush in parts. It still has to be heard as loudly as you can tolerate to pick up all the details.

First track “Draw Close, Let Us Sleep” is a peaceful work with soothing long sighing tones and pretty piano trills around the edges. It flows and ebbs throughout and draws the listener into its soft, tranquil world. “Stasis” is another pleasant piece that does what it says, staying static: it’s very quiet, very still at times. The intention is to immerse the listener deep in a meditative state, a state in which s/he can find calm and tranquillity and let the day’s worries melt away. Gradually though a darker mood begins to dominate the track, the air seems to grow chilly and the listener can find him or herself carried helplessly into a blacker, more sinister world.

“Wretched Wretched Liar” is a bit more how I like this kind of dark ambient music from Piecka: it’s not so pretty and can be surprisingly sharp and overwhelming in places, especially in the latter part of the track. It’s extremely quiet when it starts though I sense blustering winds in the background. Hoping that one day Piecka will release this set of three tracks on CD together with “Artistry of Exhaustion II” so that listeners can enjoy the music as it should be enjoyed. ” … Liar” turns out to be very melancholy and full of longing for something dear that is now lost, forever perhaps; the use of orchestral elements gives the track a mournful air and a lush feel.

I must admit I didn’t quite enjoy this work as I did “Artistry of Exhaustion II”: being a digital release doesn’t quite serve the music well here. I suspect on CD it would come across as a more full-bodied collection of music with more volume dynamics; the orchestral parts seem flat. Proof that online music as it is, is missing something that only music released on older formats retains: warmth and atmosphere. Some people might be concerned that kids who listen only to online music might get a warped sense of what music should sound like but with technology changing so quickly, online music must surely improve and it’s difficult to predict how it will influence young people’s music tastes and capacity to hear music.

Contact: Carbonscape

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