Format: CD-R in pro-printed cardboard sleeve
Playing time: 65:02
Release date: October 2008
2. Part II 6:17
3. Part III 3:27
4. Part IV 3:18
5. Part V 10:47
6. Part VI 8:06
7. Part VII 24:58
8. Part VIII 3:14
Several releases of Ambient / Dark Ambient music credited to him were published by labels such as Eibon Records, Amplexus, Silentes, Nextera, Drone Records, Taâlem, etc. on CD and other medias. He is also responsible of many other projects dealing with different styles of electronic music ranging from Lo-Fi / Weird / Cheap Electronica to IDM (Wolkspurz & Ramirez, Lips Vago), Dada / Noise / Non-sense (Spiral, The Afeman). He is part of Hall of Mirrors along with Giuseppe Verticchio (Nimh), of Sil Muir with Andrea "Ics" Ferraris (Ur, Airchamber3) and of Molnija Aura with Davide Del Col (Ornament, Echran).
Mortar was a side-project of Moreno Daldosso, mainly active in the Power-Electronics area as Murder Corporation. Owner of the now defunct Murder Release label - mostly specialized in Power-Electronics / Noise cassette releases - he also released music under the Metastatic and Spiral aliases. Mortar's trademark lo-fi sound can be easily filed under the Death-Ambient genre, we'd like to remember his ability to create horrifing soundscapes using low-resolution and time-stretched samples of classic music.
During its first years of existence, Mortar music was published - mostly on cassettes - by Murder Release, Slaughter Productions and Old Europa Cafe. "Emperor's Return", the first Mortar CD album, was published by Fuoco (a joint effort between Eibon Records and Amplexus) in 1998, while a limited LP vinyl album entitled "From the Grave" was released by Oktagön Records in 2000. Two CD-R releases on Blade Records and Anaemic Waves Factory were also published before the project was disbanded a few years later.
The "From the Grave" LP is now made available again by Afe Records in the form of this unlimited CD-R release aptly re-entitled "Amon vs. Mortar", here's what Andrea Marutti / Amon has to say about it in his own words: "In late Summer 1996 I was asked for help by Mortar in order to edit and finish some of his tracks for a possible vinyl release on the Amplexus label. After de-noising and editing more than two hours of material I was given permission to choose what I felt were the best tracks and manipulate them, and so I did. In November I made my choice and added some Amon atmospheres to the originals, trying to polish their native roughness while keeping the tension and darkness; when I was asked for some "organ sounds" I also recorded a completely new track. When my work was finished it was not appreciated a lot by Mortar because the result was too similar to Amon's music... I don't know why, but this music was never released by Amplexus. Years passed and six of the tracks I worked on were finally released by Oktagön in 2000. You can't find anywhere a credit for my work on the sleeve, but if you carefully listen to the album you will be able to recognise many of the trademark Amon sounds used on the "Amon" and "El Khela" CDs. Quite a long time is passed and I have no hard feelings about all this, I think it's nice to make this work available again in a more suitable format."
"Amon vs. Mortar" also includes two extra-tracks - consisting of about 30 minutes of music - which were recorded during the same sessions but were not part of the original release on Oktagön Records. All music was remastered by Andrea Marutti at Lips Vago Digital Studio in January 2008 from the original DAT tapes. The artwork was created by Abby Helasdottir / Gydja.
Philippe Blache / Prog Archives, January 2009
The final project saw the light in 2008 but it is initially based on Mortar's previous materials recorded in 1996. Andrea Marutti (Amon) provided some additional sound materials and mixed the ensemble. All tracks are by Amon / Mortar in duet except "Part III" by Mortar and "Part IV" by Amon. Musically speaking it reveals an aesthetic-mystical peak experience based on primal expressive / static droning textures. "Part I" introduces a deeply spacious electronic ambience. In metaphorical terms it connects us within the universe, suggesting the presence of a tellurian breath that surrounds us. As human we seem to vibrate with the divine (communion) and the music is the communicative medium. "Part III" is an almost goth-like ambient piece covered by micro-noisy injections, harmonious electronic echoes. "Part IV" certainly represents the highlight of the album with a superb ambient funereal theme dominated by detached-desolate-phantomatic organ chords (closed to Tangerine Dream's "Zeit"). This album is a difficult listening for neophytes but reveals some astonishing, otherwordly parts that can be perceived as real nocturnal-dreamy invocations for curious listeners. A very special, immersive sound environement that should not be missed and has to be listened in appropriate conditions and circonstances.
Bauke / Gothtronic, March 2009
"Amon vs. Mortar" by Amon vs. Mortar and the CD-R has eight untitled tracks, or well, they're entitled "Part I" through "Part VIII". For me that just about equals "Untitled". The artwork - by Gydja - is nice and minimal and depicts landscapes with rocks and it "feels" a bit vulcanic in origin. Which can also be because of the colouring. Amon is Andrea Marutti, who is the owner and founder of Afe Records and next to Amon active under Never Known as well as his own name and several other pseudonyms. Mortar is Moreno Daldosso and even though he has quite a discography I never heard from him before. Like Andrea he also runs a label and in his case it is Murder Release who mainly released ultra limited cassette by the also Italian Maurizio Bianchi. This release has gorgeous droney sounds. Minimal modulations and additional noises generate the vulcanic atmosphere which we already saw on the cover. All tracks are created by both artists, except for two. The third part is a Mortar solo-piece, while the fourth part is by Amon. And the two solo tracks are the fun part of this release: they enable you as listener to see who did what in the tracks. The gritty noise manipulation by Mortar versus the layered organic soundscapes by Amon - the balance is very well found. The album could perhaps use a little more variation at moments, but that's a matter of taste. A statement in minimal drone structures for everybody who looks beyond their imagination.
Andrea Ferraris / Chain D.L.K., April 2009
Given the fact this release came out on Afe you have Andrea Marutti squared and that would be enough to give a strong identification to this product. This CD features material from Mortar coming from late 1996, some went to compose its Oktagon LP plus some previously unreleased materials, everything has been molded and reshaped by Marutti with his Amon moniker and if you've confidence with his previous work with such a project you don't have to expect something that different. It's misty-ambient, dark-ambient music with an incredible amount of mid-low frequencies and keyboards/synths sounds. I think the original sound source for some of the tracks were synths but don't expect those post-black metal releases with cheap ambient keyboards sounding like a third rate horror movie soundtrack. If you strain and work with your imagination I think here and there you can also guess the cut of some of the original sources is someway old-school, but as you can guess Amon has reshaped the whole recordings to give it a new tissue and here you have it, thus don't consider it as old despite it betrays that old school touch lot's of you may appreciate. Sometimes I've been quite surprised by the fact Marutti has gone quasi-melodic, like in the passage where he used an organ sound to play a sad melancholic harmony that breaks into the wall of misty clouds you can cross for the whole length of the CD. For those of you who already had the chance to taste some of his Eibon materials, here Amon tends to diversify a lot some of the passages even though the global sound of the work is quite uniform but you have more sounds suspended in the background, sometimes lost in reverb, sometimes something strive to get to the surface, the impression is there's something beyond the steam. This effort also reminded me of Amon collaboration with Nimh in the occasion of "Sator", just a bit less heavy and less powerful, but something brought to my mind that monolithic feeling. At the end of the day it's a really quiet and introspective CD and I think the desolated rocks Abby Helasdottir/Gydja has put on the cover tell us much more of this release than the majority of the words I've written.
Paolo Bertoni / Blow Up, May 2009
...apparentemente più concentrato su insondabili oscurità era "From the Grave", collaborazione tra Moreno Daldosso, Mortar e Murder Corporation (BU#10), e Andrea Marutti, qui Amon, pubblicata da Oktagon nel 2000 ma risalente a quattro anni prima. Sembra che l'elaborazione di Amon delle tracce portegli da Mortar avessero per Daldosso sin tropo snaturato l'originale. Quel materiale esce oggi con il nuovo appellativo di "Amon vs. Mortar" che restituisce il giusto ruolo svolto da Andrea, omesso nel citato vinile. Quasi mezz'ora di bonus dilata il dronante continuum ora diviso in otto tracce in cui la mano di Marutti è effettivamente evidente tanto che non serve leggere i credits per cogliere che della "Part III" è artefice il solo Mortar. (7)
Matteo Uggeri / Sound and Silence, June 2009
Se non ricordo male parecchi anni fa Andrea Marutti mi raccontò della difficile genesi di un disco del 1996, peraltro in prezioso vinile, ad opera dello scomodo personaggio che risponde ai monikers Murder Corporation e Mortar, il quale aveva affidato a Marutti/Amon il mixaggio finale di tale lavoro. Avendo poi quest'ultimo forse calcato la mano con al propria impronta dark ambient, il più ruvido compare parve non apprezzare il lavoro tanto che questo non fu mai pubblicato dalla (mai dimenticata) Amplexus. Nel 2000 fu invece la Oktagön ad occuparsi della cosa, pubblicandolo a nome del solo Mortar. Faccende complesse che appassionerebbero forse pure Simon Reynolds, fatto sta che oggi, a quasi quindici anni dalla sua registrazione, il lavoro trova la sua forma definitiva in questo bel CD-R nella solita lussuosa grafica Afe con due brani aggiuntivi. Inutile dilungarsi sul contenuto, che si snoda in territori conosciuti agli amanti dei generi dark/death/ambient, mantenendosi sempre su buoni livelli ma forse al di sotto di altre prove soliste dei due, sebbene si tratti di un opera immancabile per gli amanti del genere.
Fabrizio Garau / Audiodrome, September 2009
Il disco di cui si scrive è il remaster di un'uscita Oktagön del 2000 (ma il lavoro è iniziato nel 1996), nello specifico una manipolazione di materiale appartenente a Mortar/Moreno Daldosso (conosciuto di più col nome Murder Corporation) a opera di Andrea Marutti/Amon. Pare che dall'edizione Oktagön non si evincesse la presenza di Amon nel CD, che invece è molto significativa. Non è il caso di giungere al paradosso e dire che un "ascolto alla cieca" avrebbe fatto dire a chiunque che dietro a quei suoni così essenziali c'era Andrea Marutti, ma è certo che a carte scoperte non è per nulla difficile credere che la firma su quell'ambient spoglia - caratterizzata dal trasmettere un grande senso di profondità spaziale - non sia quella del signor Afe Records. Non è inoltre il caso di tagliar così corto e di affermare che questo è un CD di Amon al 100%. "Part III" dovrebbe essere a firma del solo Mortar, tanto che si sente uno stacco in termini di dinamismo, per una traccia inquietante alla maniera di alcuni dei primi dischi dark ambient di casa Cold Meat Industry: sembra di essere all'interno di una stanza buia con un vento fortissimo all'esterno che fa forza contro le pareti. Curiosa, poi, "Part IV", attraversata per tutta la sua lunghezza da una melodia minimale d'organo, che finisce per costituire un altro elemento di varietà in un contesto sì efficace, ma uniforme. In ogni caso, ad esempio con la quinta parte, si ripiomba in un vuoto sconfortante come quello di Caul: come sempre accade per queste uscite, un ascolto approfondito e dedicato rivelerà tutte le screziature del buio.
Charlie Martineau / Connexion Bizarre, March 2010
According to the albums notes the basic material for this album was constructed by Mortar and then enhanced further by Amon - the later is a music project of Italian Andrea Marutti, while Mortar is a side-project of Moreno Daldosso. Though both artists have an extensive list of past releases and projects this release would be my introduction to the two projects. A good part of the album contains deep bass drones that dominate the mix but there are times when other things seep in and take on a shape all their own too. "Part III" starts out with some haunting choir sounds that fade away into noise that resembles waves crashing on a shore. "Part IV" is probably my favorite chunk of the album because it breaks away completely from everything else and drifts away with some very nice organ work - in fact, I wish it had gone on more than the just barely over three minute length it carries. Overall, this disc has some great atmospheres and some truly haunting sections. I do feel though that some sections drag on a bit and I did find my interest tailing away on some of the tracks. The formula this release has is well thought out - I just think the 'experience' could have been enhanced a bit if a few of the tracks were shortened or had more variation though. This is only my opinion though and I may be completely missing what the artists were going for. I do think if you're a fan of dark, brooding droning ambient music that this is a release you may want to look into.