Afe Records is one of my happier discoveries this year. This Italian dark ambient/experimental label, run by Andrea Marutti, stands for both quantity and quality. Its discography is enormous, yet each release comes in awe-inspiring packaging - limited edition CD-R with pro-printed A5 sleeve and high quality artwork.
For the past few months, I've listened to Afe releases almost every day, both as background and foreground music. There's no one Afe sound, but in plurality, Afe is slowly seeping under my skin.
Pholde is Canada's Alan Bloor, who records harsher sounds as Knurl. Bloor is a trained musician, with experience in jazz bass and classical guitar. For Pholde, though, he drops tonality in favor of metallic timbres - metal the substance, not the genre.
Imagine sticking your head inside a gigantic, 50 meter-wide cymbal as giants and dwarves run their hands around its surfaces, extracting every sound it can produce. One gets the sensation of falling into a bottomless foundry.
At two long tracks (31:31 and 14:13), "Aperture of the Internal Surface" forces reorientation of listening modes. One stops listening for songs and starts listening to sound. The waveforms reveal that the tracks have contours, though they're not obvious in such dilated timeframes. The title track is five slow crescendos; "Manifested by the Occurrence" is two long sections.
Bloor recorded these tracks as single takes sans overdubs. It's a tribute to his skill with sound manipulation that I can listen to essentially 45 minutes of metallic cymbal sounds and enjoy every moment. "Aperture of the Internal Surface" is available from Afe's mail order.