Oct 2011 12

Ion - ImmaculadaIon
Category: Ambient
Album: Immaculada
Stars: 3
Blurb: The second album from this project is understated, gentle, and atmospheric throughout.

 

Duncan Patterson has come a long way; starting out as bassist in legendary doom metal group Anathema, he’s moved into dark trip-hop with Antimatter and Dead Can Dance-inspired ethnic ambient with his current project, Ion.

His second album under the Ion name is much like the first, 2006’s Madre, Protegenos, with faintly Mediterranean elements interwoven with more Celtic atmospheres inspired by Patterson’s native Ireland. And again, the best examples are also the most sparse, like title track “Immaculada,” which layers female whispers in Spanish over slowly droning synth-strings and minor-key dulcimers, and the epic, ethereal “Cetatea Cisnadioara” with its wordless wails and bare piano chords. On Immaculada, though, Patterson does make the occasional nod toward accessibility. “Temptation” is like Dead Can Dance crossed with Delerium, lush female vocals set off by tense acoustic strumming, and “Adoration” and “The Silent Stars” recall nothing so much as the fairy-inspired folk/pop of Louisa John-Krol and other artists from the Prikosnovenie label, with delicately pretty acoustic guitars and pianos setting off achingly pretty, almost saccharine soprano vocals. Fortunately, Patterson follows each of his softer pieces with something darker and more intense to keep things from getting unbalanced. “Adoration” is followed by “Damhsa na Gceithre Ghaoth,” which starts off as Enya-style choir pads but soon morphs into dark medieval Celtic music at its best, terse strums and otherworldly flutes fluttering over a quietly insistent rhythm, while “The Silent Stars” leads into “Return to Spirit,” an eerie composition that closes the album with layered whispers and lonely dulcimers. At times Immaculada borders on new age, but the album shows admirable restraint, pulling listeners in with deceptively soft melodies and then confronting them with understated otherworldliness.

Track list:

  1. Immaculada
  2. Temptation
  3. Adoration
  4. Damhsa na Gceithre Ghaoth
  5. Invidia
  6. Cetatea Cisnadioara
  7. The Silent Stars
  8. Return to Spirit

Ion / Duncan Patterson Website http://www.duncanpatterson.com
Ion / Duncan Patterson MySpace http://www.myspace.com/duncanpatterson
Ion / Duncan Patterson Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Duncan-Patterson-music/177779848721
Equilibrium Music Website http://equilibriummusic.com
Equilibrium Music MySpace http://www.myspace.com/eqmequilibrium

Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3

2011-01-18

Matthew Johnson (infinitywaltz)

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