Semiomime - From Memory [Ad Noiseam - 2011]Noel Wessels is one busy artist. Already known for his work with The Outside Agency and as DJ Hidden; Wessels created Semiomime in 2003. “From Memory” can be described as a soundtrack for a non-existing film. Musically it’s a combination of IDM, ambient, drum and bass, glitch and bits of modern classical.
Songs are categorically separated into 3 parts; giving the listener the feeling we are experiencing a play or performance. All together it is 17 songs, some only lasting a minute, others much longer. The thread of the project is a bit scattered; things jump from field recordings of city life to serene and pensive ambient pieces (as on “Unveiled” which is reminiscent of Stendeck). Some of the shorter pieces are just that; too short. While on tracks like “Stalactite” they are overwhelmingly perfect. The sounds and atmospheres thrust us into an echoing, dark, subterranean world. There is mechanical static on “Theorem” and delicate bell-like sounds played against drum and bass on “Gnosis”.
Yet the compositions really shine on “Transistor”, with its use of glitch elements played against rhythmic electronica and “Remembering” with its stirring modern classical piano melody combined with old phonograph static. “Pan’s Alcove” begs mentioning if only for adding a sensual and mysterious aura, with its dark atmospheres and eerie effects.
The piano pieces are intricate with a dissonant tone to them. There is somberness to them, yet they are played with much movement and energy. The other elements Wessels uses (ambient, IDM and glitch) complement each other effectively.
The only downside would be that some songs meander a bit; like on “Parade” with its orchestral Tim Burton-esque feel and “Moon” which was too short to really give any feel at all. Yet those are small compromises compared to the other fifteen songs and in those songs are a surplus of ambience and musicality. What we are left with is a project that is technically lovely and imaginatively strikingViktorya Kaufholz