Hello, incredibly pleasant brain massage. With Alio Die (Stefano Musso) laying down drones coaxed out of transformed acoustic sources and vocalist Syvli Alli chanting and keening her way through a slow and graceful ritual, Amidst the Circling Spires reveals itself, particularly over the course of the multiple listens that will understandably become mandatory, to be a masterpiece of electro-acoustic ambient. I may sometime overuse the word “deep” in describing ambient music, but this release is exactly that. Musso’s soundworlds are huge, aurally explorable things that overflow with detail. Tiny crackles, light clatters, and liquid whisperings fill the space between bigger sounds to keep the environment in constant evolving motion. The organic solidity of string instruments, particularly the zither, along with chimes and light hits of percussion, beautifully offset the misty washes of the electronics. And then there is Ms. Alli’s voice, arcing, dipping and soaring in wordless prayer that bends the feel of the release toward sacred music. It is a soul-piercing sound, capturing and conveying a complete sense of meaning that transcends language. It is as moving as it is mystical. She is at her finest–and yes, deepest–on the long, gorgeous track “La Grotta della Naiadi.” On “Crepuscular Birds” she takes on a mournful tone that is still unspeakably beautiful, packing the feel of a heartfelt story being offered to you–and you will be compelled to listen. Musso’s sounds here come across with the gentle rise and fall of a harmonium, backed with wind chimes and the zither sounding more like a dulcimer, the notes bouncing brightly in contrast.
To me, this is a perfect album. It is absolutely moving and makes a true and immediate connection to the listener on a very deep, spiritual level. The detail work, as I said, is masterful. There is not a wasted moment here, nor is anything shoehorned in–and there is a lot of sound going on here and every tiny bit of it is integral to the whole. Even in its darker moments it is soothing and utterly immersive. Willing or not, you will find yourself entering a meditative state as it moves along. It’s best to leave this on loop because it’s a bit of a disappointment when its final note fades. You may not want it to end. I know I didn’t.
Available from Projekt.