Dec 2011 28

Dead Voices on Air - Michael and the Angels FoughtDead Voices on Air
Category: Experimental / Ambient / Noise
Album: Michael and the Angels Fought
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: Incorporating more musicality than ever before, Dead Voices on Air maintains its sonic grip on the cosmic unknown.


Mark Spybey has declared himself a non-musician, and given his unique experiments with sound collage and ambient noise throughout the years with Dead Voices on Air, it’s easy to understand why. However, as he’s developed his craft with DVoA and his numerous collaborations, his most recent outings have shown even greater traces of actual musical and melodic passages without sacrificing the structured dissonance and ethno-ambient soundscapes he has become known for. On Michael and the Angels Fought, Spybey’s third album with Lens Records in as many years, we are presented with the man’s most collaborative effort under the DVoA moniker, featuring a handful of contributions from musicians around the world to enhance his sonic palette and further take his artistry into new realms of experimentation.

“Shadow” starts us off rather pleasantly as the listener is transported through over nine minutes of celestial atmosphere, as if floating in orbit around the Earth. Bela Emerson’s soft cello takes the center stage, a soothing counterpoint to the subtle hints of spectral electronic noise just under the melody, making for a beautifully lush opener. After two minutes of abstract backdrops, “Voice” takes to its name as Ivana Salipur’s lovely vocals begin a heart-wrenchingly sad melody atop a repeating phrase of pads. After several minutes, the harmonization takes on a freer, more intangible quality to create an eerie effect that is as lovely as it haunting. Emerson’s cello returns to introduce “Pulse,” descending into oscillations of distorted noise and then back again to let the sullen cello and take to the fore again, coming across as a companion piece to “Shadow.” Things take a turn for the ominous with the 19 minutes and 16 seconds of “Moon” as hollow reverberations give rise to a menacing gurgle of static and malevolent, throaty vocalizations akin to a didgeridoo, courtesy of Soriah. All traces of musical phrasing disappear and reappear suddenly as the sound deteriorates into pure sound collage as we’ve come to know and love from DVoA, before returning to a semblance of ambient melody of the preceding tracks, and then back again. The album ends with “Sudden,” a track that is anything but as swirls of discordant sound race by like ghostly black cats crossing the listener’s path, gradually breaking down into a maelstrom of distortion and eventually resulting in a somber and sparse soundscape, filled only by the voice of Jared Louche appearing as a lost transmission from the depths of space.

As ever, Michael and the Angels Fought presents the mesmerizing and spacious sound of Dead Voices on Air in a manner befitting the project’s name. The presence of actual musical passages adds to the cosmic majesty of sound, truly capturing the fearful unknown of interstellar reaches, but allowing just enough familiarity to return to some Earthlike grounding thanks to the contributions of longtime collaborators like Robin Storey and Michael Page, along with Displacer’s Michael Morton and high-wire artist Philippe Petit. Ever evolving his craft, Mark Spybey has taken Dead Voices on Air into a category all its own, with Michael and the Angels Fought solidifying the project as a truly unique entity.
Track list:

  1. Shadow
  2. Voice
  3. Pulse
  4. Moon
  5. Sudden

Dead Voices on Air Website
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Purchase at:
Amazon CD
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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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