AUN – ‘Alpha Heaven’ [Review]

12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}The becoming-duo AUN (Martin Dumais with Julie Leblanc) have made droning dark ambient music on a number of labels including Important, Crucial Blast, Alien 8, and now, Denovali. With a imaginative moodiness similar to Aidan Baker, AUN sets its own course away from the guitar-centered sound to traverse the modular tones of Oneohtrix Point Never and the silted production of Grouper. Aquatic and upbeat, the Montrealeans embrace a European sense of purposeful music, in particular, the “chillout” as a context not of dread and reflection, but recuperation and enhancement: while opener “Koenig” resembles the submerged cathedrals of Black Swan, from this murk appears a very real harmony of warm tones with undertones of playful glitch. Similarly, “War is Near,” while seeming to resemble the politicized aphorisms of neighboring artists at Constellation Records or Alien 8, in fact takes more of a mystical premise, with wisps of Leblanc’s voice providing a siren’s song to the lattice-tones of numerous pulsing lights. Other tracks, like “Viva,” “Voyager,” and the 11-minute finale “Return to Jupiter” flirt with the hard edges of analog percussion; compared to so many other works of ambience, these fibrous inclusions give body and organic detail to the disc as a whole, while ratcheting the intensity of each individual piece. Particularly in juxtaposition with “Floodland” (the track which precedes it), with its looping laughter and Buddha Machine-able melody, “Return” builds a focused and ferocious narrative befitting John Carpenter soundtracks and prog-metal alike: chords soar and sputter as percussion pounds as a furious monorail, in and out of reflections from the womb like fuselage that ‘Alpha Heaven’ becomes. Unfortunately exclusive to the CD, these two tracks capstone the bridge of an already stellar arch of music. Recommended.

Denovali LP/CD

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