this is a one-man project by finnish esa ruoho, also known as lackluster. this cd continues the line of ambient releases on u-cover. if you are familiar with other titles on koen’s label, you will notice some of the similarities between esa ruoho (especially the most recent tracks) and starfish pool or lusine icl. these similarities outline common interest in blending atmospheric textures and subtle rhythms, while each artist create their own interpretation of this concept.
opening “departure” is probably one of my favorites on this disk – it mixes dark ambient textures filled with heavy basslines, outlined by gentle cold strings and supported by minimal percussion. cold, resonating strings bring up an image of desolated planes covered with snow, and yet there’s a distant cold sun above it all. the whole landscape into brighter colors. the atmosphere is remarkably organic and cinematic, the contrast of deep rattling bass and gentle spacey keys is outstanding. at the same time rhythmic part really adds a nice touch to the track.
atonal continuous string on “pond assemblage” reminded me of earlier ultra milkmaids material. bizarre rattling noises and drops of heavy, almost menacing percussion create a strange mix of organic and mechanic textures. the atmosphere on this track is simply beautiful – mysterious, dark, dense, melancholic. slowly developing rhythms, organic liquid sounds, distant cold strings, sweeping bleak noises – all the elements joined in a perfect harmony; this is probably how collaboration between ultra milkmaids and starfish pool would sound like.
other track present beautifully crafted ambient textures filled with delicate percussion and a lot of unique sounds that all together manage to create a very cold and cinematic atmosphere. I doubt there was one moment throughout first four tracks when the sound appeared overly drony, or minimal, or simply repetitive. following “med test” and “space” were a little too “decomposed” and artificial-sounding, lacking the harmony of previous tracks (earlier date on those tracks can probably explain that).
it is hard to describe the music on this disk, but clearly this is an outstanding release that creates a distinct rhythmic ambient landscapes. both organic and mechanized sounds joined by atmospheric sweeps and strings complete this image. at times it is as dark as “rituals for the dying,” or as melancholic and beautiful as lusine icl. this is a perfect fit for u-cover, further defining and broadening the range of this label.