Echoes in the Emptiness by Exuviae Greenhouse Music, 2000 http://www.greenhousemusic.com The Latin word “Exuviae” means either “spoils taken from the defeated enemy” or, more commonly, “shed skin or shell” such as a snake would leave when molting. The artist behind the Latin name is Brooks Rongstad, one of the founders of Greenhouse Music. This small label specializes in very esoteric electronic ambient music, which by its nature will only reach an exclusive audience. Well, I’m one of that audience, and I’ve liked just about everything that Greenhouse has released. This album is no exception. “Exuviae” creates shimmering swirls of electronic drones and sustained notes, all of them in well-chosen, rather modal harmonic groupings. There is no beat or percussion; notes phase in and out of hearing with a slow, even glacial dignity, sometimes with soft accents of twinkling high bell-like sounds. At times a piece will slowly grow in density and volume to a wide field of layered sound, only to sink back into obscurity. There is indeed an icy quality to the music on this album, a good accompaniment to a freezing winter night. Yet it isn’t emotionally cold; its mood is more like the “sense of wonder” that I cherish, secretly, as being the finest and rarest of emotions. If the winter stars could sing, this would be what they would sound like. Because there is no rhythm to any of these pieces, the floating wave-patterns become hypnotic after a while. If you are doing work that demands alertness, don’t listen to this. Exuviae will put you into a trance. It’s a beautiful trance, though, as if you were attending a ceremony in a cathedral made of clear ice. A graphics note: I could barely read the titles and other text on the CD cover. This is a common problem on Greenhouse albums. Their music may be esoteric, but I wish their type design wasn’t so obscure. HMGS rating: 8 out of 10 Hannah M.G. Shapero, EER-MUSIC.com 12/21/00 Winter Solstice
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