Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Neptune Towers

Neptune Towers - Caravans to Empire Algol
Moonfog Productions, 1994
Genre: Ambient/Noise

1. Caravans to Empire Algol
2. The Arrival at Empire Algol

Well it’s quite clear that Fenris has discovered keyboards that produce weird sounds.  This is kind of like Ambient music only with more of a Space theme twist to it.  Or as Frenris states “Avantgarde Astral Alien Synth” which I think sums this stuff up fairly well.  The more interesting aspect is that this is a concept series of albums and I’m not really sure as to what the concept is, but I according to Frenris it is there. 

The music seems to be without general format, but it has some format here and there.  There is a recurring random bass line sequence that comes in and out of the first song and it’s got a bit of a “goofy” feel to it, but for some very odd reason it really works with the bizarre composition that overlays it.  “Caravans to Empire Algol” certainly has a very spacey feel to it, which is more than to be expected from something as crazy as this.  Basically if you were to take Arcturus and turn them into an Ambient/Noise project, I think you would find something along the lines of Neptune Towers as your end results.

I think the general idea behind the composition was to create something that sounded alien to the listeners, such as if it was created by another intelligence.  The choice of instrumentation seems odd too and lends itself to somewhat of a middle-eastern feel at times.  I suppose that kind of instrument effect would be alien to Norway, but still…  I didn’t entirely feel like this was something an alien intelligence would make.  A good portion of the recording features elements that do give off that aura, for sure, but it wasn’t something entirely alien.  Not that this is something that the average listener was supposed to understand in my opinion, I mean on the disc it says “The towers will appear only when your mind is opened.”  How to achieve this mental opening is beyond me, but it’s possible that this is supposed to happen while high… or drunk, I suppose?  Further it says in the booklet “thank you to whatever gave me the Cold Void visions.”  I suppose this statement means that it’s also supposed to hold the atmosphere of a cold void, like one would encounter traveling the vast expanses of space.  “The Arrival at Empire Algol” gives off the air of travel quite a bit.  The first part of the track sounds like a plane traveling by while other things signal in on strange frequencies.

Throughout the songs you feel, in a sense, that it is an alien signal trying to tap into this realm, it is filled with the typical cliché sounds of technology like varying beeps and so forth that one would encounter in any science fiction film.  There is some explanation as to how this was recorded on the back of the booklet because Fenris felt the need to explain his intentions further:

“-Escape Earth-
Unlike many synthesizer/space releases this album has no vocals or drums.  This is purposefully in order to enable the listeners to keep “both feet off the ground”.  Vocals and drums are particularly earthbound instruments that would eclipse the mission of this disc.
-Escape Earth-“

While I do agree with this concept to a degree, the earthen instrumentation from some of the keyboard settings on this album make it seem earthly in some senses, while in others Fenris does succeed in creating that almost totally alien atmosphere that he so desired.  I think for the most part he came through in the overall in creating that astral atmosphere.

What do I personally think of this album after all that analysis?  Well… it’s not really my cup of tea, per se.  I didn’t hate it, but it’s not something I would pull out on a regular basis.  I think many people will buy this expecting another attack of Raw Black Metal, but I feel they will be greatly disappointed because they just associate the name of the musician with Black Metal and can’t envision much beyond that.  Many musicians have ambient or keyboard driven side-projects and Fenris is no different than any other man, he desires to branch out and do something different regardless how bizarre.  The composition of this is mainly noise in structure, but that was the point, and the point of my outlook is that I didn’t enjoy it very much.  I think people will be more shocked to hear Fenris do something other than Black Metal at this point in his career than anything else, which is also probably the point of the whole endeavor.  Regardless of points, ultimately I can’t see this becoming a very popular and highly sought after release in the future.  (Unless of course aliens take over our planet and all of a sudden this is a multi-platinum album.)

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