Retina.it: Descending Into Crevasse
By now, one pretty much knows what the latest Glacial Movements release will sound like before hearing it—deep, frozen ambient of the isolationist kind, generally speaking—though that in itself isn't objectionable. If anything, it's kind of interesting to hear the particular solution the artist in question devises in response to the Glacial Movements concept. The choice of Retina.it, which Lino Monaco and Nicola Buono originated in the early ‘90s, is certainly fitting, given the duo's deep ambient soundscaping approach and their command of synthesis, both modular and digital. Though its six tracks are indexed, Descending Into Crevasse's fifty-two minutes appear without interruption.
“Synth On Axis,” co-composed with Heidseck (Fabrizio Matrone), establishes the material's brittle, ice-cold ambiance by pairing the ghoulish wails of freezing winds with cavernous rumbling, the implication being that such terrain is so severe no human could survive for long amongst it. We naturally expect the material to go deeper as it advances into the subsequent tracks and the explorers descend in the crevasses between the gorges of ice. The dreamlike, shimmering flow of “Moonshine” gives off a glimmer and glow that's appropriate to its title; “Attrazione Magnetica,” by comparison, is gloomy, its repeated muffled blows foreboding. The twelve-minute title track punctuates its ominous rumblings with violent screeches and dovetailing string figures, making for a dramatic end to the recording.Though Descending Into Crevasse clearly perpetuates the tradition established by the Glacial Movements artists who've come before them, Monaco and Buono do bring a few unexpected moves to the series. “Freezing the Fourth String,” for example, introduces a startling wrinkle in adding orchestral strings to its reverberant ambient drone; in this case, the strings' silken timbres and swooping arcs offer a dramatic contrast to the electronic elements. And on an otherwise beatless collection, “-32°F Porcelain, Metal & Ice” introduces if not beats then at least rhythmic pulsations that give the track an almost Mokira-like propulsion. Such differences merely help distinguish Retina.it's contribution from others in the label's catalogues. At day's end, it's simple: anyone drawn to past Glacial Movements releases should find the latest one equally satisfying.