Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire
Ambient artists Bruno Sanfilipo and Max Corbacho merge their considerable talents for Indalo, a brooding, eerie, powerful excursion into dark ambient soundscapes peppered with occasional ethno-tribal rhythms, filled with primal sensuality, and laced throughout with palpable mystery and ancient ritual. Use of echo drenched in moisture and field environmental recordings of nocturnal creatures lends the recording a distinct mixture of subterranean and deep jungle evocations, a juxtaposition which works amazingly well and is one hundred percent cohesive. The album opens with the 22-minute title track, a long expansive slowly developing piece, filled with deep rumblings, cavern-like sounds that are both animal and mineral in sonic characteristic and higher pitched whistling melodic drones, similar in character to spacemusic. Percussion, of the type normally associated with ethno-tribal ambient, infiltrates at the midpoint of the track, played with energy and passion amidst rising and falling swells of drones and washes, but the beats don’t stick around long, replaced by warm glowing electronic waves and a scattering of environmental sounds.
Six other tracks fill the rest of Indalo with everyting from burbbling fluid effects (heard at the start of «The Agave emerges on the dry earth») to spacious vast washes and drones floating over deep but subtle thunder-like rumblings to swirling almost oppressive drones counterpointed by organic-electronic pulses on «Lava Atmospheres» to «Cabo de Gata» which begins somewhat calm and placid with rattles shaken on top of the relatively quiet synths, but building into a dense multiple-layered drone that seems to be everywhere all at once. «A lucid dream of strange landscapes» has an air of desert desolation as the night creatures come forth and the air cools from the overpowering heat of the day and the full moon reveals a landscape carved out of rock and sand and cast in dark illusive shadows.
Indalo is not a recording that can be completely appreciated if played in the background where some of this album will come across only as so much drones and synths. The astute listener will either listen to this on excellent speakers in a dark quiet room or at least use headphones to fully absorb the subtle complexity of the mix. Indalo is highly charged with atmosphere and mood, so the more you can immerse yourself in the sounds from this CD, the more seductive you will find the recording to be. At times, the mood of the CD is actually peaceful (such as the majority of the closing track «Signs of former experiences»), albeit not syrupy sweet or ethereal, but rooted in the lack of noticeable tension in many places.
This CD is an easy recommendation to fans of this subgenre (darker drone ambient music) unless the person is so averse to some tribal elements (which are few and far between) that even a hint of their presence would ruin the experience for them. While the CD can be a tad monochromatic at times, as long as you don’t expect it to startle you or invigorate you, you’ll be thoroughly satisfied with this album.
review by Bill Binkelman