“The Legacy” original reviews, part #1

Reviews of the recently released “The Innermost Legacy”, an expanded and completely remastered new press of Amon’s third CD album “The Legacy”, are hopefully coming soon. In the meantime I searched my archives and came up with some reviews of the original edition published by Eibon Records in 1999. I will post all of them here during the next days, here’s the first batch.

Prog Archives, Philippe Blache, February 2009
“The Legacy” is a vast collection of cosmic synth drones coming from outer space. We travel in complete darkness, through mysterious, haunted and evocative mindscapes. This is in the same mood as other Amon’s releases and is still gorgeous to our ears. This is discreet music built on long monotonous-cloudy buzzing dronescapes. The opening track is a dark dense spherical drone that guides the listener in a truly desolate place, in front of nothingness. Quite beautiful with dying resonances. “The Legacy I: Enter Darkness” features unearthly abstract droning textures, revealing almost phantom like presences. It carries on with an austere and spacious sound architecture (“The Legacy II: Machinery”). In “The Legacy III: Domes/Colonies”, the tension goes further with epically bleak ambiences that takes us into a creepy, suffocating ambient universe. “The Legacy IV: Exit Light” is a much more detached, suspenseful piece built on eerie drones for high frequencies and massive burgeoning echoes. “Amunhaptra” closes the album with glacial subterranean drones. “The Legacy” provides a convincing avalanche of nocturnal drone rituals, creating some vertiginous states of listening. Play loud.

Spectrum, J.C. Smith, August 2000
Andrea Marutti’s third venture as Amon (he also navigates through darkened territories as Never Known) is, unquestionably, his finest, most complete work to date. A passageway carved from humming drones opens “Sandstones”. Brittle, clamoring machinery ambience patiently moves to the forefront, as the humming drones grow more tonally rich. The track furtively shifts from its brittle beginnings, to being almost boisterous, a leviathan of unwavering sonic audacity. There is a thickness to these tones, as layers congeal amidst a murky, all-enveloping fog. The following four tracks constitute the four chapters of “The Legacy” cycle, exploring different facets of the drone territories. The darkness shimmers, grows more prominent during “The Legacy I: Enter Darkness”, as low rumbles are massaged by aching winds that sink deep into the landscape of soft gray matter. Desolation of mind is featured here, midnight in the desert of decaying dreams, erosion that leads to isolation. “The Legacy II: Machinery” really escalates the tension, as the multi-layered engines of the drone machinery grow more kinetic, tightly wound motion of a foreboding origin. The murky fog thickens to malleability, seductive in its blindfolding embrace, hinting at melodies buried way, way underneath, breathing ominously, a stentorian resonance. Pure undulating darkness, the darkness from the earth’s core (or, at least, the core of the most oppressive nightmare), full-bodied, dense, and yet spacious, as sounds skitter underneath, scampering toward the furthest horizon, toward oblivion. “The Legacy III: Domes/Colonies” is bathed in crystals whose luster is radiant, offsetting the darkness, but not the inherent solitude. It gives the solitude a chilling companion, a mocking hope awash in false light and promises unfulfilled. The crystals carve a serrated edged cavity into the drones. “The Legacy IV: Exit Light” leads one back to the light, but this is not a comforting ascent, rather alien to be quite honest. A distinctive, piercing drone seems reminiscent of a like-minded, somber drone from “The Day The Earth Stood Still”, or some such science fiction movie that I cannot quite place, but it’s there, I know it’s there. The final track, seeking refuge beyond the Legacy quartet, “Amunhaptra”, is not a peaceful finale. The ambience seems haunted, as jittery tones reflect off of abandoned machinery, all the while swelling and mutating, rising like defiant shadows in a warehouse graveyard (mysterious, hinting at deception and discomfort). With “The Legacy”, Amon solidify their status as one of the finest purveyors of drone-infested darkness, the magnitude of which can shatter souls. An awesome display!

Re:mote Induction, PTR, January 2001
Amon start “The Legacy” with “Sandstones”, a bass slowly rising, tipped by a higher edge. Rising from a quiet beginning into a light drone. Building until it gains a tangible feel; for all that, it is still building. A sustained solid layer of sound, one that seems too thick to support motion, but flow it does. After the epic “Sandstones” comes “The Legacy I: Enter Darkness”, a slight motion – its peak shorter lived than the drawn out tail. The cycle repeats, this rounded tone sustained further each time. The fore tone gains something of a piercing intensity, while the background is ephemeral and drifting. Rotary pulses expand outwards – coherent waves in slow hypnotic motions. Chasms echo in spatial openings maintaining Amon’s progress. “The Legacy II: Machinery” has more of an immediate start, though in this context that is a relative thing. Drawing out bubbles from a sustained mid-level. The fore gaining an edge of reverberation, working a cold bass that shimmers in its light oscillation. While the previous pieces have had an open feel this is perhaps more enclosed – looking out into that darkness that remains. A wetness creeps in, slight drips and shifts, suggesting a primordial influence. The bass takes on a more chromatic feel in “The Legacy III: Domes/Colonies”, perhaps brassy as we catch its gleam. Repetition starting before completion, giving impression of low expansions. Rising in strong moments, from the suggestion of depths. Progressing “Domes/Colonies” goes through different phases, a slow expansion till it becomes encompassing – though fading off in a gradual conclusion. Next comes “The Legacy IV: Exit Light”, taking on a solid series of tone, backed by a deep bass (with rumbling hints). Rotation and vibration, different sound influence but consistent, easily, with the body of work that is “The Legacy”. Grittier threads can be found in the sound, while the thick bass vibrates nearing distortion. Collected this is drawn out in a long fade. Conclusion comes with “Amunhaptra” a slow stream rising. With a low ticking level within the core, higher streaks brushing through. The sound remains subdued, with hints of drone and whine forming solid ridges. Elements which rise and twist within the dark. Rumbling echoes thud, suggested thunder and the feeling of an ending. “The Legacy” is a bass heavy piece of work, creating a permeating and impressionable soundscape. Amon leaving a distinct memory as they overwhelm your atmosphere.

Amon – The Innermost Legacy

“The Innermost Legacy”, an expanded and completely remastered new press of Amon’s 1999 CD album “The Legacy”, is out now on Eibon Records / Silentes.

Coming as a 2xCD set, it also includes “Live Report”, a selection of tracks recorded during various concerts I played in the late ’90s, which are presented in a continuous mix lasting about 60 minutes.

In 1998, when I started recording the tracks that ended up on the original CD, I was particularly interested in the phenomenon known as the “Face on Mars” – located in the Cydonia region – photographed for the first time in 1976 by the American probe Viking Orbiter 1 during its mission. Such pictures, taken at a very low resolution compared to those taken more recently during other missions, clearly showed a Martian face resembling the Great Sphinx of Giza and some pyramid-shaped structures.

‘The legacy’ to which I referred in the title, concerned my opinion about the fact that someone in ancient times may have left on the Earth and on Mars a sign of their passage. Much of the album was inspired by this theme.

On these recordings I almost completely abandoned the synthesized sounds that were used on “Amon” and “El Khela”, in favour of a large use of samples. The tracks were not sequenced and built as in the previous works, but were culled from long improvisations that also included “controlled feedback” as a sound source.

Moree information about this release are available here. You can listen the complete CD album and purchase it on the dedicated Bandcamp page.

Chevaux Rapides (Double Cheval)

Ambiente H has recently published a cassette of the original soundtrack of “Chevaux Rapides (Double Cheval)“, a video installation curated by Massimo Indellicati for the project “Acquology. Oceano Interiore”.

It features music by Andrea Marutti & Carlo Giordani, Devis Granziera, Le Forbici di Manitù and Lost Shelter, along with field recordings by Massimo Indellicati. Those interested should contact eicoolsat@alice.it for availability.

Amon returns

Although new recordings for this project are not yet in progress, I’m glad to announce that a completely remastered 2CD set of “The Legacy“, originally released by Eibon Records in 1999 has finally entered the production stage. This new version of the album is entitled “The Innermost Legacy” and also contains a selection of tracks culled from some concerts I played during the late ’90s. This item will be released, once again, by Eibon Records in collaboration with Silentes towards the end of the year.

Hall of Mirrors’ “When Only Shades Remain” review on Ver Sacrum

A new review – in Italian – of “When Only Shades Remain” written by one Caesar was recently published on Ver Sacrum webzine:

Hall of Mirrors è il progetto dark-ambient di Andrea Marutti a.k.a. Amon e di Giuseppe Verticchio, di cui ora esce il quarto disco intitolato ‘When Only Shades Remain’, pubblicato dalla mitica Eibon Records, un nome che è ormai diventato un punto di riferimento consolidato per chi frequenta certi suoni. La musica contenuta in ‘When Only Shades Remain’ non si discosta sostanzialmente da quanto si conosce di questi artisti: siamo così di fronte a sonorità estremamente minimali ed evanescenti. Le sonorità degli Hall of Mirrors sono particolari: in pratica alla base c’è un lavoro di trattamento del suono attraverso l’uso di filtri. L’effetto generato è siderale e catartico, e ci proietta in una dimensione cosmica al di là del tempo e dello spazio, come si può ascoltare nella traccia iniziale ‘Flustered Among the Approaching Menaces’. Durante il flusso sonoro emerge ogni tanto un giro di basso che può ricordare certi moduli espressivi della New Wave, come nell’inizio della successiva ‘Across Forests of Fire’, che poi si dispiega attraverso suoni trattati di chitarra. In ‘Beyond the Ever-Changing Horizon’ le ambientazioni si fanno ancora più rarefatte e liturgiche, mentre i quasi venti minuti della conclusiva ‘Where the Soil Gathers Disquieted Souls’ ci immergono in un paesaggio apocalittico da fine del mondo. E’ una musica che fluttua tra luce ed ombra alla ricerca di universi sonori sconosciuti. ‘When Only Shades Remain’ si mantiene, in ogni caso, all’interno di coordinate stilistiche ben definite e nei confini del dark-ambient.