Dec 2012 28

Desiderii Marginis - ProcessionDesiderii Marginis
Category: Dark Ambient / Industrial
Album: Procession
Stars: 4
Blurb: Darkness and mystery prevail on this mesmerizing and powerful ambient opus from the genre’s long lost master.


It’s been awhile between releases for Johan Levin, who as Desiderii Marginis has been conjuring up musical darkness ever since his debut in 1997. Now, five years since his last album and under the wings of the Cyclic Law label, Desiderii Marginis returns and Procession not only marks a fine comeback for the dark ambient titan, but an all-round mesmerizing event for all enthusiasts of poignant electronica.

Although it is the inherent and primary function of ambient to evoke moods and landscapes and erect entire monuments made up of imagination, it’s only the very finest crop of ambient albums that manage to fulfill this purpose. The opening of Procession does not betray this overriding raison d’etre as “Come Ruin and Rapture” awakens some truly haunting emotions that, in due course, come to shape and define the entire release. Without ever overwhelming his audience, Desiderii Marginis deploys an amalgam of unsettling tropes, as if from behind the dense fog the mysterious world of Procession was slowly coming to focus. Time and time again, reverberating metallic clutter and a hollering of acoustic instruments penetrate the track’s somber tone and create a truly intriguing façade for Levin’s latest material. Through that getaway, you are then ushered to a realm where constantly resonating bedlam of synths merges with a multitude of sounds. On “Land of Strangers,” snippets of folk inspired melody sway in the background, perpetually on the verge of being swallowed by menacing mechanical buzz and clinging heavy textures. “Her Name Is Poverty” emphasizes the dark musicality of Procession by freeing the repeating motif from the constraints of ambient noise and letting it escalate until all musicality is exhausted and the track dissolves into inevitable silence. The dramatic resonance of Marginis’ music reaches its climax on “Silent Messenger,” which builds up slowly from elements that were used throughout the first half of the album and culminates in a brief but exhausting finale. It’s a piece that at once makes the listener’s back shiver and heart pound. The crying sounds of what possibly is a duduk flute (exploited often in the music of Greame Revell) continue to set the melancholic path for Procession and are featured prominently, like the trademark of a masterful artist that manufactures whatever emotional response he wishes.

But coherence of the order of Procession is also its greatest fault. While the album’s eight tracks never falter and never ever contradict its atmospheric nature, the unison in which they all express themselves does occasionally provoke moments of tedious repetition. The introduction of unexpected instruments in the second half helps the flow of the experience and whether it is the sparse use of piano in “Adrift” or the unobstructed dominance of melody in the closing “Procession,” all those attempts organically communicate with the gothic spirit of the album. Desiderii Marginis’ method is nothing short of cinematic with sounds so carefully assigned to particular imagery as to leave one wondering whether the music funnels the listener into a preexistent construct or allows the freedom of interpretation; it is hardly a complaint, though.

The minimalism of Desiderii Marginis’ latest effort might be a divisive factor among the dark ambient audience. The sustained, coherent, and finite flow of Procession renders it an experience that can be absorbed and appreciated from start to finish as a piece of music that fulfills the most precious artistic role – to transport the listener into its own, unique order. If it wasn’t for Levin’s overreliance on infinitely repeating elements that make up this order, his comeback album could register even higher on his list of accomplishments, but despite the lethargic, meditative pace and exhausting infatuation with several sounds and motifs, Procession is still capable of resonating in a powerful and evocative way with all listeners that are prepared for its murky, moody stylization.
Track list:

  1. Come Ruin and Rapture
  2. Land of Strangers
  3. Her Name Is Poverty
  4. Silent Messenger
  5. In Brightness
  6. Here’s to the Future (And the Harsh Frontier)
  7. Adrift
  8. Procession

Desiderii Marginis Website
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Cyclic Law Website
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Cyclic Law Twitter
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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