Meerkat(Various Artists) - Kapnos [Afe Records, Grey Sparkle, Ctrl+Alt+Canc Records, - 2009]“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 project is pretty long and includes the following: Luca Bergero, Andrea Ferraris, Paolo Ippoliti, Laura Loverglio, Andrea Marutti, Fabio Selvafiorita, Luca Sigurta, 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. Micro sounds, 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 emulated 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 number one and track number three, sound more disturbing and even haunting; Track number one holds sound developments that can be mistaken to some sort of an eerie choir, while track number three develops high pitched whistling drones that are almost nerve breaking. Other parts of Kapnos, like track number five, are gentler, letting the listener admire their composition and overall beauty.
Besides been 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 it’s given subject of the album, but also the entire album works really well as a whole, even though different artists are composing them. Highly recommended.