Review: Cloama, Cloama (New Old Sentinel, 2005)

The latest full-length from this experimental noise project sees this Finnish artist further exploring dark ambient realms in five tracks of varying lengths and atmospheres that still remain very consistent as a whole. The rather sparse "Radiation Amplifier" sets the tone with a nice crawl of subdued ambient layers mingling about in the lower levels before a sample about radiation signals gives way to a crispier wave of distortion and some lightly scraping textures that are really quite strange - settling down and quickly fading out to "The New Old Sentinel", which combines sweeping ambient hums and ethereal textures with glitchier smatterings of scattered textures and wisps of sound to shifting degrees of thickness (usually keeping things fairly stripped down) for the bulk of the 11-minute piece. The latter chunk of the track shifts into an almost melodic surge of vibrating hums and whirrs before fading to a close. "Light Frequency Overdose" then seeps back in with a similarly sparse wave of metallic tinged effects over sweeping movements as resonant low-end fills the underlying levels and more grating sorts of scraping sounds cascade across the foreground on occasion. There's a little more contrast in this piece both in terms of movement and brightness - offering both some of the thickest, lowest dark ambient runs as well as a few louder, more acerbic bursts (though keep in mind that nothing is particularly aggressive here). The 14-minute "Voltaic Planet" then takes a more fluid path with its ringing swells and persistent hums, most of which are a little more billowy than much of the preceding track. These qualities are certainly befitting of what is by far the longest track of the disc, as that consistent flow really creates an effectively hypnotic aura that carries the composition well. "Anoidi" ends things out at a mere four minutes by comparison, and is actually one of my favorite tracks - bringing in an unexpectedly musical feel to one of the odd central tones as what almost sound like disturbingly manipulated vocals shuffle in the distance with the abstracted ambient currents. Not bad. The CD comes in an oversized color sleeve with the focus being on a large photograph of a small splash in a stream or something, of which I'm not sure of the correlation to the music, but there's certainly got to be some connection? Minimal text information is presented on the back, with some abstract black and white textures lining the inside. This is another interesting piece of work from the high quality experimental scene in Finland, and Cloama has certainly developed a brand of dark expressions that have more of an astral kind of quality to them than a lot of their countrymates. Those who prefer their ambient electronics to be of a more sinister and oppressive nature may find this release to be somewhat tame, but the overall quality of the recording and atmospheres explored is something that I can appreciate, and I'll always look forward to hearing more from this act. Well done.

[New Old Sentinel]
Running time - 43:33, Tracks: 5
[Notable tracks: Radiation Amplifier, Voltaic Planet, Anoidi]
New Old Sentinel -