Cría Cuervos is the solo project of Italian sound artist Eugenio Maggi. Having released several albums on a range of small European independent labels, Maggi releases "Vor Feuerschlünden" in an edition of just 100 professionally produced CD-R copies on Afe Records.
Recorded entirely without synthesizers, this experimental electro-acoustic album consists of field recordings, self-programmed theta waves, shortwaves and software-generated sounds.
Comprised of just two tracks - the 21-minute title track and the 27-minute "Blutgebell" - "Vor Feuerschlünden" plays like two suited pieces of experimental electronic music as new sounds are added, layered, manipulated or deducted from the mix to transform the music as it progresses.
The title track, for example, starts out very minimally, almost non-existent, but slowly and gradually forms an increasingly incessant chatter of layered noises and fuzzy drones resembling a descending plague of insects before becoming a huge wall of continuous hazy noise.
"Blutgebell" also starts out very quietly with field recordings of insect sounds, birds and passing cars before the various chirps, calls and frog croaks are layered on top of each other and a low radiant drone reverberates menacingly in the background. By the eight-minute mark, the wildlife noises have subsided and the gentle undulation of layered drones and ghostly wails have taken their place.
The feeling up to this point is that "Blutgebell" is the darker and more sinister of the two tracks, with a deliberately unnerving quality permeating it throughout. By the fourteen-minute mark, a constant theta wave tone oscillates almost hypnotically before increasing in density as "Vor Feuerschlünden" did before it, although not to such a massive scale, and dying out before getting too colossal.
Instead, where "Vor Feuerschlünden" built more and more distorted layers, "Blutgebell" strips itself back down to the continuous hum of the theta wave, a discrete undulating drone and the gentle sound of running water slowly becoming more prominent as the track draws to a close.
"Vor Feuerschlünden" is like listening to two variants of a concept; the title track builds and builds to the point of self destruction in a mass of distorted drones while "Blutgebell" is its dark ambient counterpart, building much more slowly and focussing more on disturbing imagery and tense atmosphere.
Which of the two tracks you might prefer is down to individual taste, but if drone and electronic experimentation are your favoured genres, "Vor Feuerschlünden" is worth a closer look. (7/10)