Boomkat Product Review:
Atlantic coast trio Niagara tend to their prevailing current of enigmatic, windswept ambient structures on a return to their Ascender label after 2020’s ‘Pais & Filhos’ album with Príncipe.
‘Veneza’ is perhaps the Portuguese group’s quietest and most intimate statement in six years of unpredictable movements. It revolves around a mix of seven succinct and sprawling works that find Alberto Arruda, António Arruda, and Sara Eckerson at their most low-key, eschewing their grittier dancefloor charms for an absorbingly textured and contemplative sort of slow burn sound; hashing briny new age synth exploits and playfully curdled kosmiche arps with sparkling contemporary classical strokes in a wandering style that has served them well thus far.
The effortless allure of their sound is in sweetest effect on the likes of ‘Dia 3, Parte 1, Música 5’, which recalls earliest 0PN synth meditations, while their knack for tactfully evocative textures and synaesthetic sensation is most appealing in the mise-en-scene of crisp, breezing air and distant, crashing waves that frame the melancholy analog synth wist of ‘Dia 2, Parte 1, Música 2.’ The avian chirrups and sylvan classical piano lines of ‘Dia 1, Parte 2, Música 3’ lead our mind to comparisons with CV & JAB’s lines of thought, which also applies to the album’s standout 14 minute closure, where they invite us into a serene room recording of a lonesome piano and sparing, aleatoric electronics, all subtly enlivened with incidental sound.