This is not a CD for beginners. To be blunt, and I mean this well, part of Seren Fford’s 61-minute work, Stellar Nurseries, could be held up as an example of why people who aren’t into drone or dark ambient, or ambient music at all, tend to instantly dislike it. At the very least, the less adventurous listeners out there may not make it through the first half.
Fford divides his piece into four movements, but gives over the first 28 minutes to a dense, foggy, grit-laden drone that just hammers away at you. It doesn’t seem, if you’re not used to this kind of music, that much is happening. But it is. If you’re one of those people who are a bit more attuned to, or have at least been exposed to, what dark and drone music is all about, this first movement is actually fairly astounding. It genuinely impacts the listener on an emotional level and a physical level. It is relentless. The shifts are minimal and far between. It’s white noise, amplified and given a sawblade texture, designed to break you apart and take forcible hold of you. It is the quality of spending half an hour caught in the stellar-wind rush of a birthing star.
Given the title of the disc, one has to imagine that’s what Fford is trying to impart to us. Because after that charge of sound the rest of Stellar Nurseries brightens and lightens and we’re given long, high synth pads and flowy spacemusic constructs. It’s a relief. This is Fford’s solar genesis story we’re bearing witness to, and it’s quite nicely told.
Give in to the first half of this disc, and do so with the sound turned up. You need to feel what Fford is doing to truly appreciate it. After that, just drift and watch this new galaxy come together.
Available from Hypnos Secret Sounds.