Before I ever sit down to write a review, I always like to do a little background research on those behind the music, and Michael Palace is most definitely an interesting man. He has worked as a research scientist for the University of New Hampshire, with his research focusing on necromass (deadwood) in Amazonia.
Through his many trips to the rainforest he has amassed a collection of recordings that he has altered to create "Coleoid". A coleoid, for those curious, is a cephalopod, and is considered an intelligent invertebrate. The album itself, he states, "focuses on the extreme depths in the oceans that these creatures can withstand and the alien like world of darkness and pressure."
Although these days it seems everyone is trying to get in on the "dark ambient" genre of music, very few do it in such a unique way as Palace. "Manus" is a droning, sweeping soundscape that is very calming and peaceful. The track flows straight into "Dactylus", a 15 minute epic piece that starts in much the same way; a flowing, droning ambient canvas that sweeps you back and forth.
"Tentacular" is the shortest of the four tracks on the album, clocking in at just over 11 minutes. To me, this is the one track above all that seems to put me in another place. I'm not sure exactly what it is about it; there is just something hauntingly organic about it. Finally, the final track (and longest track on the album) "Cirri" brings this amazingly beautiful album to a close.
There are not enough goods things to say about this album. Where most dark ambience is machine driven and sounds so, this album feels alive. There is a natural energy that seems to resonate in each track, and that has put this album in a place all by itself. It seems Afe Records is fast becoming one of the front runners in unique music. This album is limited to 100 copies, so I urge you to pick one up. (9/10)