(…) St.an.da. is a new branch to the mighty tree that is Italy’s Silentes label. Another is their Silentes Minimal Editions, who re-release a double CD by Amon, in cooperation with Eibon Records. The latter originally released this in 1999. Behind Amon is Andrea Marutti, who seems to be less active these days. A decade or so ago he seemed much more active when it came to releasing music, either under his name, but also as Afeman, Lips Vago, Never Known and Spiral. As Amon, he was most active from 1996 to 2008. Originally “The Innermost Legacy” was a single CD; the second CD contains “a selection of previously unreleased tracks recorded at various Amon concerts during the late ’90s”. If Orsi’s latest album is ‘slightly darker’, then this is sure ‘very dark’. It is the kind of dark ambient that one heard quite a bit in the 90s, when for music like this, someone invented the term ‘isolationist’ music, a term to describe a broad range for more experimental forms of ambient music, usually made by individuals in home studios. It is not a term I use a lot these days, but just now I am thinking about it and it occurred to me that it is also a term that one could apply to music that has a very claustrophobic feeling. That is something that the music of Amon has in abundance. The sound of being locked in a small room and an escape is not imminent. You hear sounds outside, but very much also inside your head and you could easily think you’re going crazy. It is interesting to compare the studio music and live recordings from those years and note that the studio recordings have a level of abstraction that I didn’t find in the concert material. It’s not that these are easier going, as here too everything is pitched down quite a bit and a bit of distortion is not avoided, but as far as live music from the dark underbelly of the universe this is something that at a medium-high volume will be quite overwhelming. At the same volume, the studio recordings would come to mild torture, with that more than a mild distortion of all sonic frequencies. It is all quite overwhelming but on a rain-soaked Thursday afternoon, this is the perfect soundtrack; it all stays very grey!
Da tanto non sentivamo parlare di Andrea Marutti alias Amon. Il suo ritorno contempla ora la ristampa – dopo vent’anni dalla sua pubblicazione – di “The Legacy”, quando il suo interesse per suoni e fenomeni interplanetari volgeva lo sguardo verso quella ‘Face of Mars’ fotografata per la volta nel 1976 dal satellite orbitante Viking, in una delle sue missioni. Una faccia di Marte che pareva somigliante alla Grande Sfinge di Giza, diviene così un pretesto artistico per esplorare nuovi suoni, facendo volare l’immaginazione su segni e simboli di un possibile passaggio in tempi antichi su quel pianeta. La musica ancora una volta riflette le profondità abissali e spaziali di una Dark-Deep Ambient non lontana dal primo Lustmord, quello delle “Black Stars Hang”. Ma è l’altro CD a catturare l’attenzione, un “Live Report” finora inedito di rare – e per questo preziose – testimonianze dal vivo, un paio delle quali al Link di Bologna e all’Open Air Ambient Festival, sempre a Bologna, mi videro partecipe e promotore. Le altre sono a Milano e Pordenone. Eravamo tra il ’97 e il ’98, lo stato dell’arte del sampling, dei field-recordings e di certa Ambient.
Diciannove anni dopo la sua uscita datata novembre 1999, il terzo studio-album “The Legacy” del progetto principale di Andrea Marutti (attivo in diversi act, fra cui gli apprezzati Hall of Mirrors assieme al sodale Giuseppe Verticchio/Nimh) viene ristampato in edizione doppia e rimasterizzata nel bel formato digisleeve apribile, sempre da quella Eibon che ne approntò la stampa originaria. In oltre vent’anni di attività, l’artista milanese si è ritagliato un proprio spazio nell’affollato panorama Dark Ambient e, fra tante pubblicazioni, “The Legacy” resta sicuramente tra quelle più significative della sua carriera. Abilmente rimasterizzate dallo stesso Andrea, le sei tracce di “The Legacy” risplendono di una nuova luce, che ne svela i dettagli più reconditi: prendendo le mosse dalla misterica coltre dronica di “Sandstones”, possiamo riassaporare nella rigenerata veste sonora la rarefatta ed isolazionista “The Legacy I: Enter Darkness”, momenti decisamente più minimali e sottili come “The Legacy II: Machinery” e “The Legacy IV: Exit Light” e frangenti marcatamente lugubri come “The Legacy III: Domes/Colonies” o la conclusiva “Amunhaptra”. Il secondo CD, “Live Report”, consta di tracce registrate dal vivo pescate equamente dai primi lavori, fra cui un paio riprese dal nastro del ’97 “Live At Molto 08.04.1997” (le uniche due non inedite del bonus-disc), più una versione rehearsal di “Nona” catturata in studio al volgere del millennio. Un collage di momenti live che mostra il proprio valore sia sul piano tecnico, con interventi effettivi sulla materia ambientale, sia su quello della resa audio, decisamente confacente ed in linea col tasso qualitativo dell’intera operazione discografica. Una ristampa importante per chi ancora dovesse recuperare un lavoro il cui alto livello non è stato intaccato dal tempo come “The Legacy”, resa appetibile anche per i più fedeli appassionati del progetto grazie al materiale bonus ed all’opera di rimasterizzazione.
Here’s the first review of “The Innermost Legacy”, written by Philippe Blache, that was posted a couple of weeks ago on the Igloo Magazine website:
True mastermind of synth-produced music and artisan of sonic electronic tinged odysseys, Andrea Marutti has made a name in the early years of industrial dark ambient music under the moniker of Amon / Never Known. Eibon Records has welcomed a number of his releases and Marutti’s own trajectory as sound producer can be compared in some way to the one of Caul. What makes his Amon / Never Known distinguishable is the focus on cavernous if not doom-like reverbed drones, like if those sinuous textures were resonating in an abandoned cathedral. “The Legacy” is an eloquent representative of this genre, renamed “The Innermost Legacy” for this special double album reissue. Those materials were initially published in 1999 for Eibon Records (leading actor in the rising of early 90s dark ambient chilling soundscapes, from Italy and other regions). This new edited version is published in collaboration with the now historical Silentes Records. The listener is invited to be immersed by dense caverns of drones, populated by noisy ghouls coming from the attic, blackened whispering electro-acoustic effects and ghostly melodious vibes rising at the sonic surface. An atmosphere of obscure disenchantment prevails all along this corpus of utterly bleak soundscapes, sometimes admitting a significant, esoteric and suggestively sacred vibe. “The Innermost Legacy” is an essential piece of dark ambient musical ataraxia that shows a real organic, experimental and craft-based facet, far away from more modern and generic releases in the genre. Fans of early Lustmord, Archon Satani, Terra Sancta and Yen Pox won’t be disappointed.
This is the third batch of reviews of the original edition of Amon’s “The Legacy”. Italian only this time!
White Noise Zine, Davide, January 2000
Esce per l’attivissima Eibon Records questo “The Legacy”, strepitosa prova di Amon, progetto dietro al quale si muove Andrea Marutti (mente anche di Never Known), musicista milanese tra i più meritevoli e interessanti della scena Dark Ambient in Italia. Già la grafica della confezione (ad opera del boss della Eibon) ci introduce, almeno visivamente, a quello che è il mondo di Amon: tre figure sofferenti, inumane, in un cerchio quasi rituale; una sensazione di gelo e vuoto fuoriesce dall’immagine. Inserito il CD nel lettore si prosegue nel viaggio. Amon elabora con intelligenza lunghe tracce fatte di campioni, drones ipnotici, profondi e distanti, dall’incedere lento ma incombente, lasciandoci dispersi in un mare di suoni inquietanti, a passeggiare in una catacomba. Il tutto articolato in sei diverse tracce, legate però da un filo conduttore che mantiene costante l’attenzione dell’ascoltatore. Un continuum sonoro sul quale sono inserite delle variazioni che modificano la struttura di base senza alterare l’atmosfera del disco, buia e opprimente. Indubbiamente qualcosa che va al di là della semplice musica, come spesso accade nel genere, un viaggio attraverso il suono, ma anche attraverso la mente; un sound cupo, senza mai risultare noioso o fuori posto, quasi che sia la musica stessa a tracciare i sentieri che poi la mente seguirà. Un lavoro affascinante, da ascoltare rigorosamente soli, per tutti coloro che non hanno paura di guardarsi dentro, utilizzando come chiave d’accesso al proprio Io una musica difficile e suggestiva. Grandioso.
Musicboom, Francesco Gemelli, March 2000
E’ necessario intraprendere il percorso “Amon” con una particolare predisposizione e una decisa inclinazione alla ‘introspezione’. Si può correre il rischio di rimanere schiacciati dall’ ‘impegno’ che questo album comporta; l’impegno di rifiutare un ascolto distratto e di rimanere distaccati da quello che può risultare come un piacevole momento riflessivo. Questo “The Legacy” esprime il coraggio di un’Ambient ortodossa, lontana da aperture cacthy e totalmente rivolta verso il basso, verso l’oscurità. Un viaggio che si svolge lontano dalla luce e che rinnega ogni possibile ascesa, rimanendo ad una ‘profondità’, che solo l’inclinazione all’ascolto può non rendere oppressiva. I drones evocati da Andrea Marutti in questa terza pubblicazione si ripetono intensamente per diversi minuti, variando molto poco la ‘forma’ assunta e intraprendendo direzioni tutte simili. La registrazione poteva essere migliorata, per esaltare i piccoli passaggi che si aprono nel corpo principale dei brani, e per donare maggiore compattezza all’album. Lavoro sconsigliato a chi non ama le composizioni Dark Industrial lunghe e ripetitive; per tutti gli altri, un’ottima occasione per guardare dentro se stessi.
Here’s the second batch of reviews of the original edition of Amon’s “The Legacy”.
Manifold, Vince Harrigan, August 2000
It’s hard to get across in words how good this work of Dark Ambient is. Perhaps these guys have few equals for pure, flowing, desolate Dark Ambient… maybe Necrophorous or Chaos As Shelter. But Amon are even more desolate and spacious, leaving out a lot just for the sake of making what’s there fill up more space. And the tones in “The Legacy” have that pregnant power, the exquisitely crafted puzzle-of-sound that is not complex at all, but just extremely meaningful without being distracting. No words. There is absolutely no pulse or percussion here, it’s all sheets of flowing and ebbing and windy tides, many of them, and many different kinds, moving like colours of grey and shades of starlight brown over and around, multiple creatures of tone working together to make the most sonorous, singular and lost feeling for the listener. The same scary power of “Pure 2” by G-Flesh, the same spiritual purity of Thomas Köner’s “Permafrost”. No second is quite the same as the last, but is born from the dying breath of the last into a seamless flow of totally altered consciousness from end to end, like the snake of infinity eating its tail as it grows.
Recycle Your Ears, Nicolas, September 2000
“The Legacy” is the third album of the Italian project Amon. With this record, this famous Dark Industrial project offers us again a mesmerizing recording of drones and tones, bringing us into a state of isolation and introspection. With this CD, Amon has tried to write music with a new process. According to Andrea Marutti, the man behind the project, improvisation has played an important role in the creation of this album, and, as stated on the digipack, “some of the tracks included in this CD contain unidentified sound sources”. The result is a very slowly changing opus that sounds like it had been recorded in space. The sound is clear but very intense, although the same tones may go on for several minutes. A lot of variations happen in the background of the music, and this require active listening to be fully enjoyed. Needless to say, this new Amon CD is something to listen to only when you’re really in the right mood. Very dark and bearing a mystic touch, this is the kind of music you listen to in the dark, without doing anything else than concentrating yourself on these very deep sounds. Moreover, the recording is mastered very low, and you may easily miss something if you’re not careful enough. “The Legacy” is a very good CD from a major name of the slowest and most isolationist side of Industrial. It will fit you very well if you listen to Lustmord or Yen Pox. For those who like this style, this is definitely highly enjoyable.
Inner Space, Vladimir Jovanovic, November 1999
Ever wondered how Dark Ambient should really sound like? Look no further. This is it. At the end of 1999 and after a decade of some thrilling developments in this particular genre of music, Andrea Marutti, a.k.a. Amon, managed to come up with an instant classic. But beware. This isn’t easily accessible music. This isn’t for anybody. This is slow and static ambience, for those who like to sink deep into the depths of the abyss, guided by the rumbling sounds of the speakers and start a long and turbulent journey of introspection. No one can promise it will be easy, travelling through endless deserts, roaming long lost temples and wastelands, but think of the reward that awaits you at the end. It won’t be a feeling of happiness and joy, but a sense of fulfillment with tremendous power and dark beauty. And that’s exactly what “The Legacy” is. Something that defies the test of time. Once you hear it, it will stay in your mind forever.
MBL, Darin M. Sullivan, March 2000
Andrea Marutti, a.k.a. Amon, is back with his latest adventures into the darkened abyss of sound, entitled “The Legacy”. Six tracks (well, it’s actually three tracks; “Sandstones”, “The Legacy” and “Amunhaptra”, but “The Legacy” is broken up into four parts: “Enter Darkness”, “Machinery”, “Domes/Colonies” and “Exit Light”) of deep, droney, Dark Ambient bliss fill out the entire CD and satisfy even the most passive of listeners. This will probably make my Top Five list at the end of the year. Five Stars, an outstanding release from Amon. “The Legacy” comes highly recommended, it’s a must have. For any and every fan of the darker side of Ambient music.
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.
“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.
To celebrate the imminent release of “The Innermost Legacy” on Eibon Records / Silentes, tonight I uploaded almost three hours of full tracks on the Amon Soundcloud page . These are taken from all the Amon releases published during the years and are my personal favourites, I truly hope you will enjoy them.
French label taâlem has just released a new 60 tracks compilation by artists who operate in the Experimental / Drone Music fields. Andrea Marutti‘s “Shuddering and Wild”, an unreleased and exclusive effort, is featured as opening number.