Over the past several years the underground Macedonian Ambient / Drone artists Toni Dimitrov, Dimitar Dodovski, and Martin Georgievski (a.k.a. Amplidyne Effect) have occasionally collaborated as Post Global Trio to make extended ambient soundscapes, typically a mix of field recordings, drones, found sounds, samples, and electronic twiddlings. Naturans, Naturata is in that sense much like their previous work, although here they have created an extended 56-minute piece and divided it into two “sides” (curiously enough, as if it were on vinyl—although Lagerstätte is a CD label). The runtime and continuity (excepting the fade out and fade in between sides) give the work a sense of extemporaneity, although the dense layers of samples and synths seem to suggest that its composition and flow were given some deliberate forethought. Similarly, the use of “fluid” sounds (synthetic drones, soft tones, literal samples of water) apparently give the piece the kind of atmospheric glue necessary to keep the music within its own enveloping world—especially within the opening 10 minutes—but at the same time the diversity and sometimes non sequitur quality of the sampling, along with the increasingly uneven rhythms and inconsistency of the spatial setting equally break that atmospheric glue—eventually so completely that as a whole the music, no matter how quiet or serene it may be, only acts to confuse and disorient the listener. As such Naturans, Naturata is an incredibly unnerving composition, and I believe this effectively conforms with its concept.
In the album’s press release / description, the artists speak of the decay of In the album’s press release / description, the artists speak of the decay of our Earth’s ecological health and intend to counter this reality by returning to a “primordial” utopic state of being—and indeed the incongruity I have described within the music appears to mirror exactly that conflict: that is to say, the contrast between a natural utopia and a world of post-modern decay. In describing that conflict, the Trio neither paints an image of bliss nor of decadence, but rather something much closer to the ecological meltdown that occurs at the intersection of these two circumstances—a complete historical discontinuity that would exist spatiotemporally speaking. Naturans, Naturata is therefore a work with existentially disturbing implications, which seem to be mirrored in its phenomenological disturbances.
But let me give a concrete example of what I’m getting at above: the album begins with a seemingly logical natural setting and landscape, complete with chirping birds (who quickly fade), insects, and a babbling brook—these elements are nicely complemented by a smooth, tonal bassline and gentle drones. But around twelve minutes into “Side A,” the natural sounds begin to fall out or change; the rhythm begins to stumble; a vocal sample enters; the key of the piece changes—all disorienting, incongruous discontinuities that effectively evaporate whatever sense of nature the listener once had—or perhaps more precisely, disillusion the listener of the music’s natural pretensions (the remaining sounds were, after all, synthetic this whole time). After this initial disturbance, the music on the rest of the album can never again come together quite so contentedly as at its beginning, despite the entry of major key melodies (e.g. the piano at 21:00) and use of other “natural” sounds.
However, across “Side B” we begin to hear the music settle into its discordance, ultimately in a much more musically compelling sense: the psychedelia of its opening passage is brazenly and beautifully surreal. This ascends into a palpable confusion, which by this point no longer seems odd or unnatural but merely granted. The synth/church bell/live drumming section that enters around 14 minutes in takes this to new levels—as if the slippage of the album’s first half only existed to warrant even harsher, more interesting levels of musical decay.
Essentially Naturans, Naturata is an Experimental Ambient album that leans highly on the experimental and noisy side of that genre’s spectrum, and certainly in that sense it is not for everyone, but it appeals to those of us contemplating how music can be taken to new depths of entropy.
By Isak McCune