preparing for upcoming xingu hill/ammo/dead hollywood stars live appearances in canada, usa and europe, I decided to dig up some of the older material that also bears the touch of john sellekaers. together with very impressive delta files release (that should be reviewed here some time soon), this quite old xingu hill album is just a part of required homework for anyone attending the shows.
if you have been closely following john's recent material, this release would add a definite perspective, presenting some of the sellekaers work in a new light.
without any further introduction, let's move to "maps of the impossible." from the very first movements of epic "myth," I was captivated and surprised by the sound of this album. a refined mix of dark ambient undertones with incredibly rich melodies built with the help of subtle streamlined spacey techno rhythms and bass-filled dark landscapes where sounds of the exotic lands, vast open spaces and distant memories fade and float in the twilight sky.
at first all I could distinguish was a pleasant "openness" of the sound with slight darker edge, but just like with "alterity" (although a lot faster), a more subtle side of the album revealed itself. the mystery has stepped forward and opened vast horizons, not dominating, but pushing the imagination forward and above to the realm of the impossible.
slowly developing aural masses and rich ambient passages (no matter how long they are, those atmospheric introductions are never boring) move into groovy bass textures that roll over the traces of long gone civilizations. carefully blended hydraulics, deep sub-bass crashes and dark organic swells reminded me of outlandish moods build by early seekness, sephiroth, and (surprise, surprise!) delta files.
every track is built using roughly the same formula, combining sensuous elegant strings, hints of carefully manipulated tribal elements blending with sparse mechanized movements and deep pulsating techno. exotic samples, distant and yet beckoning paint the images of eastern bazaars disappearing under the dark covers of the time; warm nights on the open ocean shore when the time stops, bewildered by the sheer mass of the water glowing under the setting sun that has seen the empires of the old and the long-gone post-modern formation of the future.
this is one of those timeless releases that makes up for any lack of modern "hip" appeal with its solid emotional atmosphere and definite sense of direction. this is the music that always remains a mystery and keeps evoking and building intricate web of emotions, feelings and images finding its way to the heart of any attentive listener. this very feeling is what connects "maps of the impossible" with "alterity" - the spirit has been kept alive, while the sound has evolved and advanced over the years.