Jan 2022 03

Album CoverNatura Est
Album: Real Seasons
Category: Dark Ambient / Drone
Label: Cyclic Law
Release Date: 2021-04-26


Dark ambient seems to intrinsically rely less on its musical or production aesthetics as much as the conceptual framework informing each entry. Listening to the third album from Natura Est, the collaborative project of Autoclav1.1’s Tony Young and Xotox’s Andreas Davids, if one was not aware of the thematic threads the pair have woven through its six tracks, one could easily dismiss Real Seasons as just another aimless excursion into the genre’s foundational tenets – hollow and cavernous washes of bellowing sound without form, rhythm, or melody… and there are certainly those ingredients in Natura Est’s formula. However, one need only look at the album and track titles to understand where the duo intend to take the listener through this sonic sojourn, evoking the seasonal variations and transitions that permeate our world, the environment itself a living, breathing entity in a constant struggle against its most destructive foe – us – and asking who is the greater threat, the more ravenous and cruel beast?

Of course, even as the six tracks on Real Seasons tend to merge into a miasmal and bestial symphony, there are few notable moments of intrigue. For instance, as “From the Cross Quarter Day” begins with an almost breathily rhythmic solemnity, its pads steadily emerging from the distance and swelling into what could be voices vacillating between ethereal bliss and agony, “The Feast of May Eve” takes over into an almost chordal progression, the pads becoming a choir upon which shrill drones and resonant bass flutter like the sounds of indifferent nature. The tone becomes processional by “Midsummer,” the vocal sustains becoming palpably mournful yet warmly inviting against the cold howls of hollow ambience waxing and waning in the mix like the waves of an uncaring sea. “The Trilogy of Harvest” plunges us into a discordant and foreboding absence, languishing in the guttural drone that gains in intensity before coming to an abrupt end, leaving the distant and ghostly wails of “The Turning Wheel” to bring Real Seasons to a pensive conclusion.

There does not seem to be a clear victor in this audient conflict, but Natura Est does not seem interested in a definitive answer, letting the question compel and challenge the listener. Free from its concept, Real Seasons may sound like just another dark ambient record, but at the very least, Young and Davids imbue Natura Est with a clearer sense of purpose that makes this third album worth exploring.
Track list:

  1. Rebirth of the Solar God
  2. From the Cross Quarter Day
  3. The Feast of May Eve
  4. Midsummer
  5. The Trilogy of Harvest
  6. The Turning Wheel

Natura Est
Website, Facebook
Cyclic Law
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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