Max Corbacho, Deep Time

Having most recently lifted listeners upward with the celestial/sacred drifts of Ars Lucis, Max Corbacho turns the sound around and heads downward in the penumbral, primal and purposely murky spaces of Deep Time. For people who’ve listened to Corbacho in the past, this new release is a distinct departure, a strictly atmospheric work of formless drifts, painted with cave echoes and rumbling drones with smatterings of disembodied voices rising out of the gloom. It’s not dark ambient per se; it never ventures into anything quite that dense or heavy. Rather, let’s call it grey ambient–it’s dark in a way that leads us to the edge of that shadowy space inside ourselves and then lets our head take over as the sound moves forward. Slight touches of dissonance up the subtle anxiety, from not-quite-in-tune chimes clanging in a phantom wind to anguished curls of sound that rise and fade to mist. Corbacho’s pacing mixes contemplation and suspense, points where the breathing eases to the beatless cadence paired off with sections where some edgy thing in the flow constricts the breath. Entire passages move through, bending time as they go. Deep Time is constructed in three long parts, the shortest coming in at 17 1/2 minutes. Each is a solid long-form piece in itself, sharing a sense of character and theme but still richly individual. Taken together, it’s an hour of mood- and mind-altering ambient.

Corbacho goes all out on Deep Time to sculpt this trio of worlds, daring to take an unfamiliar path and, in the long run, making it distinctly his. It’s a disc that needs to be listened to closely. Each moment is loaded with motion and dimension, Corbacho’s sounds unlocking primal sensations and spinning them off into an isolated mindspace for us to chase after and examine. Spend time in Deep Time–who knows what you might find in there?

Available from AD21.

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