Angel: 26000

Angel, 26000, Editions Mego 127 CD (2011)

An excellent pairing of Ilpo Väisänen, formerly of Pan Sonic, and Dirk Dresselhaus who I’m not familiar with, the not-so-angelic Angel presents a strong and lively work in 26000. The two concentrate on producing free-form pieces of noise, drone and sound textures stitched together from different sources and the results are very sculpted and fluid. First track “Before the Rush” in particular is a wonderful series of severe drones, pulses and oscillations, all tough and stern and vital yet very controlled, unfurling their charms and moods in a dark and austere space. The piece climaxes with a stunning burst of splatter-gun noise, zinging steel and steaming cloud. “Dark Matter Leak” starts out as a more inter-stellar piece, emerging from the deepest reaches of space, that spends considerable time rumbling over a drum while blasts of solar flare and electrical storms flash across the background. This piece is book-ended by two short-ish tracks based around gongs, metal singing bowls and other percussion instruments of delicate, ringing tone.

For the final track “Paradigm Shift”, the duo bring in special guests Hildur Guðnadóttir on cello and halldorophone and Oren Ambarchi on guitars (Ambarchi also appears on “Dark Matter Leak” where he played guitars and percussion) to play on a meditative poetic piece of long restful drones and solemn tonal textures that reach for the heavens. This is a very serene and assured track, so much so that it’s hard to believe the rest of the album was at another sonic extreme; at the same time, it’s a busy piece with rumbles in the background and long drawn-out tone effects or field recordings weaving or draping themselves over the bubbling noise.

Funny thing is I don’t think of this album as being “dark” in the sense of being sinister or gloomy even though it has been described as dark in some reviews I have seen. It’s certainly a very airy work with a lot of deep space and its style is austere and controlled. The sounds are lively and sharp even in “Paradigm Shift” where most of the noise is subdued and quietly crackling. Good to see Väisänen still has plenty of that noisy electronics spirit deep inside him!

Contact: Editions Mego,