ASUNDER is, for the most part, a cold moody set of tone zones. The pieces are strongly environmental, with immense, steady drones painting vast windswept horizons, sustained and turning so gradually that the impression is often one of sound almost drained of musical tone. Like the monumental movement of huge bodies of vapor or the imperceptible progress of glacial ice, ASUNDER ebbs and flows in aching mass. The temperature warms a little on "Flume"; here the drones lighten notably as if bathed in pale sunlight, the weight drops away and the listener begins to float. "Flume" is introduced by the tranquil movement of water as if the cold were melting away. This softer tone holds into the final piece "Underland", a cloud of velvety haze that is ruffled infrequently by static, low rumblings and delicate synthetic strains. At points during the CD, peripheral elements dot the expanse; environmental recordings and instrumental suggestions from such sources as synths, guitars, bowls, electronics and small objects. These can be heard as distant shiftings or reverberating sonic turbulence, small presences or peculiar fluctuations deep within the mix.
This album comes in a jewel case with artwork created by the artist himself and layout design from Projekt's Sam Rosenthal. The front cover image is that of an abstracted landscape, broken bands of earthy hues that appear almost like a cross section cut into the soil. The sky above is featureless and white. This image is picked up and echoed throughout the package. On the rear is a timed tracklist. Inside is a two-panel insert that opens out to deliver a simple gear list, credits, thanks and web site info.
ASUNDER is the debut release by Nathan Youngblood with input from ambient master Steve Roach providing drone and wave contributions on two tracks as well as being credited with production and with mastering. The CD is released via Steve's web site, and selected excerpts can be heard there or on Nathan's MySpace page. The label's promotional material describes the release as "carved from dense harmonically rich acoustic and electronic material, this set of tone zones move at glacial speed, hovering very close to the Earth's surface for the duration". The six tracks range from just over six minutes up to almost twenty on the relentless isolation of "Shearwave".