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mago
definition of raw moments from a different perspective
ad noiseam   2002
  see also
sanctum, parca pace, azure skies, mag...
ad noiseam website

album rating: 3
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submitted by anton on 2-Dec-2002

mago is another reincarnation of the music themes that have surfaced before under the names of azure skies and its countless siblings. definition of raw moments from a different perspective is a hard album to pin down - its seemingly simplistic sound might provoke an easy categorization, but it turns out that mago escapes any conventional definition - the moment you try to pick it apart, it slips through your fingers, its charm loses itself under the weight of awkward descriptions, dissolves into the meaningless noise of comparisons and metaphors. I keep coming back to this album just to realize again and again that it works on a purely visceral level, instantly getting under your skin, carefully pulling together a unique assortment of styles and sounds, each one of those tugging at some (often unexpected) reference, forgotten emotion.

overall this is a strangely endearing, almost naive and at the same time dark and slightly detached look at the world around. it is characterized by a constant acknowledged presence of the painful weight of the existence, this piercingly bittersweet note that keeps coming back over and over again, as the music unfolds.

the structure, the composition is quite simple - the surface of the music, its slowly flowing nature consists of the thick droning backdrop of stretched-out strings and slightly off-focus, blurred textures. on top of that are simple electronic rhythms, a few vocal samples and a melody. a few organic sounds are added as well - a guitar here and there, live drums and distant noises.

the passage above is nothing more than a description of a few components; it conveys none of the compositional talent and richness of the music that often reminds me of the same desolate and spacious ambient landscapes painted by god speed you black emperor!, except with a more human touch, relying on more electronic elements. the more you listen to mago, the more references you can come up with - anything from experimental acoustic ambience, to dark electro and avant-garde classics. in this respect mago is very accessible, very universal, able to reach out to so many and yet by all means remaining perfectly unique.

compared with other related projects, mago exhibits a surprising tact in its display of emotions and usage of instruments. its subtlety is the most impressive, raw sound elements, echoing drones, electronic arrangements are always "in place", blending together with occasional touch of vocals or abrasive texture. it took me a while to finally accept this sound; my childish maximalist nature kept craving for more - more noise, more aggression, more emotion, more innovation (whatever this word might mean in this context); I suppose it really takes a talent to keep the music so perfectly contained within the boundaries that really constitute good taste.

the album became an interesting tool in this attempted introspective search for the valid reason to "explain" my affection for this music, justify it, rationalize it. at the end I arrive nowhere, or rather realize that these attempts take me back to the very nature of music, its deeply rooted emotional and physical connection.


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