NOCTURNAL EMANATIONS – review by Morpheus Music


Nocturnal Emanations - Max Corbacho

Beatless and rhythmic ambient zones full of shadow and the lush densities of night. Night sounds, night birds, crickets, low sonic breezes – the album opens with a strongly environmental sound. Gradually dense tonal blankets roll in, gurgling effects and low muted impacts, the stillness now stirred up into a slow winding eddy. The serene twilight pools that Corbacho creates here can be silky and smooth, lustrous surfaces reflecting dark tones – but there are obscure depths too, things heaving below in slow, slow swells. The third track ‘The Slow and Wandering Dust’ sees a soft rolling beat gradually creep in – a corporeal rhythm, natural, constant accompanied by waves of heavy saturated tone like the measured breath of deep sleep. Large pots and giant drum thumps provide the basis for another percussive piece on ‘Abandoned Wind’ – slow motion low, lulling, soporific.


This is a rich, liquid smooth world of dark curling colour, oceanic enormity. Tranquil and languid for the most part, yet uneasy shades well up at times, there are desolate spots, lonely and cold, suggestions of ambiguous lifeforms moving somewhere below or off to one side. The organic rhythms lift some tracks into meandering animation, quickening the stillness – but only just.


Purple-black scenery in a crepuscular gloom fills the front cover, the edges of individual rocks and crags picked out with a graphic grey outline creating a weighty solarisation effect. Vague, monochrome geographical imagery creates backdrops for the other panels – a tracklist on the back complete with track times. Inside the two page booklet is an explanation of the project and a verse from Indian poet Sri Aurobindo that was a chance finding during the creation of the music.


Max Corbacho’s Nocturnal Emanations was released in 2003 and appears on the website as the fourth release by this talented ambient composer. This is seventy three minute duration long form work developed through eight distinct tracks. Promotional material describes the album as one of «transparent synthwashes, developing through silent landscapes». The sound zones established are intended to be «almost hostile, sometimes underground, always stony, ancient». The approach taken was one «without any type of synchronism» so that «in this way the layers of synthesizers move freely along the whole piece «rubbing» harmonically some with others. A compelling composition that very effectively leads the emotions and senses in a beguiling night glide over quiet, abandoned terrain.


Nocturnal Emanations is for lovers of sonic scenery, lovers of low light, lovers of ambiguity. This CD will appeal to ambient fans that enjoy an organic sound and powerful atmosphere.

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