[reviews] afe121cd
meerkat: kapnos

musique machine []
webzine, u.k., september 2010

"Kapnos" (Greek for "Smoke") is an experimental/ambient compilation. This disc is the fourth part in a series called "Between the Elements" which sees Italian sound/ambient artists tattle music that's themed around different elements/environments - other volumes in the series include "Cloud" and "Desert".

The list of artists involved with the project is pretty long and includes the following: Luca Bergero, Andrea Ferraris, Paolo Ippoliti, Laura Lovreglio, Andrea Marutti, Fabio Selvafiorita, Luca Sigurtà, Matteo Uggeri, Davide Valecchi and Adriano Zanni.

Each of the seven tracks is composed by at least two artists, using various means of sound manipulation and production. The entire work could be easily filed under ambient, but a closer examination would reveal, of course, the vast differences between each track. Microsounds, field recordings and drones are just a part of the many approaches that appear here, and like smoke, these artists produce elusive music that's almost incorporeal, rejecting definition and labels.

Smoke can happen and occur in many different ways, and this album sees the artists attempting to emulate this in sonic form. Low flames and the sparkling sounds of ignitions are blending with ethereal layers of music that make the transition between the tracks so smooth that the entire album seems like one long fuming track.

Some parts of the album, like track "One" and track "Three", sound more disturbing and even haunting; "One" holds sound developments that can be mistaken to some sort of an eerie choir, while "Three" develops high pitched whistling drones that are almost nerve breaking. Other parts of "Kapnos", like track "Five", are gentler, letting the listener admire their composition and overall beauty.

Besides being a remarkable compilation of sound artists from Italy, "Kapnos" is an interesting and rewarding experience. Not only is this one of the few themed compilation albums that really stays loyal to its given subject, but also the entire album works really well as a whole, even though different artists are composing it. Highly recommended.

[Oren Ben-Yosef]