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Å - Greot [The Level of Vulnerability - 2018]

Static noise - an interesting and varied style of sound art. Some may say the form is too monotonous and boring, but to my ears, it’s not. As in any genre of sound, there are several styles, which are often disputed by artists and fans. Let's not talk about classification. We will limit ourselves only to the fact that the noise project called Å  is one of the most famous in the style of Ambient Noise Wall. A characteristic feature of this style of static noise is the almost complete absence of abrasiveness as well as a deeper, atmospheric sound.

Å is the project of the prolific French experimental noise artist Grégory Henrion (Impluvium, G.H. and so on), who is also the head of label AnarchoFreaksProduction.

The album was released by the Hungarian label The Level of Vulnerability in both the digital version and the pro-duplicated C44 tape. At the moment, tapes are still available for order.

The cover is a black and white macro-photo of a crack on an old painted stone surface, on which are visible chips and scratches. The album title and project name are missing.

The album consists of two Untitled tracks, which are each around the 20 minutes mark.

The album's title Greot,  translates from old-English, like "sand" or "grit", so that, inspired by the cover and title of the album, I prepared to hear the abrasive or texture sound. But that was not the case.

What I did get is a deeply relaxing, but sometimes disturbing Ambient Noise Wall, sounding on the verge of ordinary gray noise with reverb, backed up with clicks and crackles. The main noise we can hear in the central channel, almost mono. The clicking sounds that support it are recorded in a good stereo.

The first track is represented by a rather low volume static noise, in which the textural component can hardly be removed. This ‘wall’ has an almost smooth sound as the frequencies are both close to low, but still not low enough to be a bass. There is the impression of a distant storm, which inevitably approaches.

The second Untitled track continues the line of the first but is represented by less low frequencies. Middle frequencies are more pronounced, but distant basses become more textured. However, it's still the same blurry noise, backed up by stereo clicks. As if the distant storm that was approaching in the first track finally caught up with the listener, who had hidden from it in some room and now hears the sounds of this storm through the walls.

This is a serious, strong and solid album in the style of Ambient Noise Wall, which is perfect for meditative reflections. During listening, my thoughts flew far away, then suddenly returned to these sounds. One of the best features of static noise is that during listening you can think of something completely different, remaining, nevertheless, a listener.

I think that the best praise for an artist working in the style of Ambient Noise Wall is to compare his sound works with the forces of nature. Perhaps, this time Gregory failed to convey the "sandy" atmosphere, which, it seems to me, originally conceived by the releases title/ cover. But there was an atmosphere of space, nature, and elements. With impatience, I will wait for new albums from Grégory Henrion and his projects.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Sergey Pakhomov
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