The latest from Emanuele Pertoldi's Shaded Explorations label is a wonderful new 62-minute long-player from Irammm. According to the disc's promo materials, Irammm is a pseudonym adopted by an unnamed artist who has recorded and performed under a variety of handles. The project, we're told, is about finding "peace and sorrow in sound."
You may be surprised by that rather emotional description given the richly produced, low-key affair that is Les Deserts D'Irammm; its reserved cool is central to its appeal.
The album opens with "Homa Domo," a multilayered drone piece that introduces ambient music elements suggestive of the album's title. The drones sit just this side of abrasive, which serves as a fitting reminder that deserts are generally challenging landscapes to spend any amount of time in.
Next is "Bon Akvo," which combines multiple percussion lines in a subtle, intricate sound collage. There is a lot going on in this piece, but because Imramm's palette is so carefully refined, the effect is remarkably peaceful.
The album begins to take on a more overtly electronic feel on track three, "Enter Agua Illusion," where acid-inspired synth beeps complement a slamming drum track and bass line. For the first time, the album makes you feel like dancing.
And on Les Deserts D'Irammm goes, hitting one high note after another. Every track works — even "Far Marcha," at more than 11-and-a-half minutes, never once loses steam.
By the album's close, with "Irammm est Mort," an emotional element has been established. Far from feeling sorrowful, though, the track is inspiring — a bit dark perhaps, but inspiring just the same. (Shaded Explorations)