Pandora, from Igneous Flame and Ensueno, is a different kind of collaboration. Ensueno, a Russian ambient artist, created a series of tracks which he then handed over, digitally speaking, to Igneous Flame (aka Pete Kelly). Kelly took a select set of the sounds and then “added certain sound elements, manipulations and (spatial) processing in particular,” and “re-composed extensively.” The outcome is a lush common ground filled with huge, warm synth pads and misty, deep-dream atmospheres. Each of the pieces here moves through certain changes, most in the form of a rising low end, just on the benign side of marginally menacing, that nudges its way through the flow before being swallowed into it, so there is some textural change in what’s otherwise a breath-slowing mass of classic ambient. Kelly’s always been good for that, though; his cloudy sound-shapes offer up touching chord changes for a distinct emotional content. It’s easy to get fully lost in these eight tracks only to become aware, somewhere mid-stream, that you are responding to it viscerally. The music here can be quite moving in those places where it rises in your awareness–but Kelly and Ensueno seem intent on keeping you deeply immersed and offering no reason for you to come out until they’re done. After four tracks of this, though, the duo make the excellent decision, on “Lightstorm,” to break the drift with some rich percussion. It’s brief but effective, an unexpected shot of adrenalin before they let you drift back into the enveloping flow.
Like many projects in which Igneous Flame is involved, Pandora is an album to put on and just leave running to let the sound and feeling fill up the space–or your headspace. Needless to say, headphone listening is quite richly rewarded. Kelly had some stunning material to work with, thanks to the deep talents of Ensueno, and the alchemy between the two artists indeed turns out some ambient gold.
Available from Luminasounds.