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Vidna Obmana & David Lee Meyers - Tracers [Zoharum - 2020]

Originally released in 2003, Tracers is sixty-minute collaboration between respected Belgian ambient project Vidna Obmana, and New York City-based feedback scaper David Lee Meyers. The whole thing has very much of a darkly abstract space like vibe, giving one the feeling of travelling to some strange & gloomy planet. As part of Zoharum’s reissuing of Vidna Obmana back catalog- here’s a recently CD reissue of the album featuring a new remastering of the album.

The CD is presented in a fold-out six-panel digital- this features close-up monochrome photos of blackberries, winter seed buds, and dried up plant matter- all very much fitting the gloomy alien feel of the record it’s self.

The release takes in eight tracks in all & spot on sixty minutes of runtime- each track lasts between four and nearing the fourteen-minute mark, though the tracks very much morph & shift from one to another- so this is very much a long sixty-minute journey. Each of the eight tracks are called Sector- and we begin with one of the more hopeful-to- harmonic tracks here “Sector 01” it's built around a grey hovering & slightly ringing drone, which are topped by a spiral & bright tones- this track very much feels like we’re travelling along in a seemingly buoyant state ready to find a golden planet full of welcome & hope. By the point, we get to “Sector 02” things have very much turned much darker, abstract & uneasy- as the pair knit out a sonic tapestry of hazed & lightly knocking ringing drones, higher-pitched discordant chop-ness, and whining ‘n’ stretching electro texturing.

As we move on we come to the sourly warbling, churning, and blowing ambient unease of “Sector 03” with its melted & morphed chatting voice tones, coming across like a garbled radio transmission from the earth. Though to subterranean droning meets slow-but-shrill tonal unease of “Sector 05”- which sounds like a trip to the planets foreboding mine where strange wiring & slicing robot miners work away. Through to the muffed electro beat chop, circling electro tones, and wavering eastern harmonics of “Sector 07”. With the album been  topped off with the longest track here “Sector 08”- this 13.57-minute track seems to pull us deeper into the dark & haunted abstract drift & ebb, as we find a slowly swirling mixture of descending & lulling drones, distant flute eerier-ness, and twisting-to-baying small alien/robotic tones….with the spiralling & bright harmonics of the from the first track slightly returning, though they are more blurred & melt- never shinning in the same way.

Tracers is a effective ambient collaboration with the two projects managing to create a distinctively alien-yet-gloomy sonic environment for intrepid listeners to drift off into. If you enjoy largely abstract & subtly star bound soundscaping, then Tracers will certainly be of interest to you.

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

Roger Batty
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