Boomkat Product Review:
Carmen Villain follows last years ‘Only Love From Now On’ with this new full length exploration of soporific, slow-moving ambience and disemboweled dub, a score she composed for a contemporary dance performance by acclaimed Choreographer Eszter Salamon. Simply put, it’s one of the most captivating things we’ve heard this year; all luxurious texture-cycles in possession of a delirious, dreamlike quality that hits a rarified spot somewhere between Aphex Twin’s ‘Selected Ambient Works Vol.II’, classic Chain Reaction and Jim O'Rourke’s meditative electronic recordings.
‘Music from the Living Monument’ was written for choreographer Eszter Salamon's dance performance of the same name, a lavish and sculptural show for 14 performers dressed in ornamental fabrics (which you can see on the album art) while surrounded by slowly shifting environments. Carmen reflects the measured gestures of the dancers, ruminating on slowness and burying instrumentation in sensual abstraction.
Edited down from almost 3 hours of music, the album opens with ‘Multicolor’ and triggers the same sense of suspended animation you get from ‘Selected Ambient Works Vol.II’, its brooding mix of glacial gestures and fizzing pads suggestive of fuzzed, liminal states. From here it only gets deeper and more disorienting, peaking with the frankly majestic ‘Silver’, deployed at a pace that makes Rhythm & Sound’s beatless dub abstractions seem almost giddy by comparison. Villain locks us into infinitesimal movements with a slow, heartbeat-thud of a bassdrum crumbling around choral pads that grow in intensity over its 9 minute duration. Its one of those pieces you could get lost in for hours, such is the power of its swirling, meditative vibrations.
‘Pink’ ends the set by flexing more angular muscle, contorting what sounds like glassy clangs into electroacoustic pulses in a way that feels effortlessly engrossing, harmonising with Jim O'Rourke's stunning 'Hands That Bind' OST. Microtonality is an overused buzzword right now, but Carmen penetrates the essence of its magick, emphasising sensuality and mysticism in a way that feels like someone whispering softly into your ear as you pass from the waking world into a deep, dreamless sleep.