webzine, usa, november 2003
The cover of Eric Kesner's, recording as True Colour of Blood, newest album "(Absence)" is a telling one. A grey-toned photo depicts an equally grey sky punctuated by a spidery treetop populated with two shadowy birds. Though we appear to be upon Earth, it's clear the focus here is the sky-static, not quite dark, seemingly endless. The interior art is similarly composed of grey landscapes interior and exterior.
True Colour of Blood's purpose seems to be static soundscaping with a focus on often ignored areas of perception; a barren field, a carpeted hallway floor, a blurry peacock feather devoid of color.
"(Absence)" begins with "Oracles of a Dead King" a slowly undulating soundshape that makes me think Kesner is Jeff Pearce's older, darker brother in sound. There's an ominous undertone here, but the stratospheric ambient drone is rather like watching a sky completely obscured by a great mass of deep grey clouds. This is a stark ten minutes of gentle, though melancholy ambience that would surely appeal to Oöphoi listeners.
"Non Ens" is reverberant darkness, as if one is housed within a giant cistern with only occasional deep drones as company. Kesner's guitar work here is strikingly similar to throat singing making the track feel like some subterranian monastery during mid-morning prayer.
"The Secret Doctrine" will tax the lower end of your speaker system as a Lustmordian rumbling skirts the edge of your consciousness. This is a deep drone not for the faint of heart, bringing to mind hidden estuaries that disappear into mountainsides. Spooky.
"Close Your Eyes and It Appears" (fantastic title) continues the darkness, bringing the CD to the edge of the barely audible. Industrial soundwashes, very low in volume, hover around. Perhaps Kesner wishes us to close our eyes, but frankly I'm afraid of what I might see when I eventually open them.
By the beginning of "Anamorphoris" we are out of the tunnel and back into a more Jeff Pearce style of guitar washes. The deep chiming of the guitar is warm, even if the underlying ambience is isolationist. Echoes of David Tollefson here, remind me that "(Absence)" would be a perfect match on the Hypnos label.
The title track is a ghostly and reverberating soundscape with a psychedelic edge. The tones slowly morph over the eleven minutes, though still manage to stay largely static. "My Favorite Streetlight" is the highlight of the album for me (along with the first track) as a pure beam of light pierces the cloying darkness of previous tracks. Even from a distance, the streetlight functions as a solace from some of the more forboding aspects of (Absence).
Finally, we reach our "Last Day on Earth". The sense here is one of waiting, as metallic clangs pervade an isolated drone. Surely, our last day on this Earth of Kesner's is one of claustrophobia. "It" is coming, and there's little we can do about it. But what is "it," exactly?
The album fades into silence, offering no answers until surprisingly a gorgeous guitar piece (the most "musical" entry on the disc) sends us straight to heaven after the dissolution of the Earth. This final coda could be a hidden track, but I prefer to think of it as a final commentary on what might occur during the "Last Day on Earth".
While the vistas on "(Absence)" are anything but sunny, I find Kesner's brand of dark ambience to be very satisfying. While the tracks do suffer from a certain same-ness, Kesner breaks up the potential monotony with some deft and imaginative guitar-playing that manages to be familiar yet original.
found that many of the tracks fell too easily into background ambience,
never commanding my attention for track length. While not necessarily
a strike against the work, listeners who prefer a more active sound environment
should probably look elsewhere. Nonetheless, "(Absence)",
will appeal to ambient fans who prefer darker and more ominous zones of
soundscaping. Quality work by an intriguing new artist.