Boomkat Product Review:
Thoms Köner makes a very welcome return with the bone-chilling soundscapes of 'Novaya Zemlya' - his eleventh album and first for Touch. The master sound sculptor takes the eponymous arctic archipelago situated in the sea north of Russia as his inspiration, deploying discreet field recordings to plot a sort of sonic geography of this desolate and mountainous region used by the Russian military. He connotes a feeling of near-unimaginable vastness through breathtaking manipulation of elemental sub-sonic frequencies and isolated tones whose quietude and magnitude at once enforce the feeling of being lost in an unforgiving wilderness with only the sound of your own heartbeat and the wind for company. However, in contrast to his earliest material - reissued recently on Type - we can detect that sliver of harmonic and melodic hope which has sustained his work since 1997's 'Kaamos' thru his stunning 2005 CD + DVD 'Nuuk'. It's barely perceptible, but possibly like the hallucinations of a stranded explorer, the winds and tectonic grumbles seem to harmonise, even crystallising a rare and unexpected moment of serene melodic beauty heard from below the ice, deep into the album's third movement. It hardly requires mentioning, but lovers of the most detached, seductively sensitive sonics will be in their element here. Highly recommended.