Well of Souls
by John Pemble
Much like feeling in motion when standing still, an elusive synthesizer chord drone churns and gives the pitch an illusion of ascending "In the Presence of Something". Tiny wood-like dinks answer lower tunks over a high pitched processed sandy shaker and Native American flute responses. This opens the sonic threshold for a time altering journey through the double-disc set WELL OF SOULS by Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana.
Alternating dissonant and consonant notes trip swishes, hoof dingels and backlash hits form signature Obmana electronic drums in the "Realm of Twilight – Outlands One". "The Secret Arrival - Outlands Two" – furthers this dizzifiying mid-disc experience and ends with thundering hits and ambiguous distant clay rhythms.
Creaking wood with flying multi-harmonic flutes slide warm synthesizer key changes in the first of three moods for "The Gathering". Varying the pace is a sensual metallic Roach rhythm loop with perfectly placed double thumps and other syncopated noise. Razor smooth texture clouds end disc one on a hanging, to be continued, intermission feel.
Disc Two slowly creeps in from the silence, yielding a dark drift with Deep Hours. Laughing taunts emerge throughout this unsettling ambience that give way to a bigger void within WELL OF SOULS. Managing this intensity for nearly an hour, "The Quiet Companion"'s less disturbing presence works to the album's "Dwelling Place" closure.
Textural spaces made by the technical tools of synthesizers, acoustic tribal oriented instruments, properly proportioned electronic processing stacked with multi-track tape all convey an infinite number of undescribable meanings. It is that open-ended reaction to this music that makes each listening a far different experience than the previous.