Previous releases from Soundscapism Inc. has shown the band one skilfully weaving sounds and intimation with atmospheric prowess, one which stirs the imagination as it arouses the senses. Afterglow of Ashes is their new adventure, an encounter which again awakens both sides of attention whilst creating quite simply the most captivating entanglement with the band yet.
Soundscapism Inc. is the solo project of Berlin-based Portuguese musician Bruno A. who had previously earned keen plaudits with the likes of Vertigo Steps, Architects Of Rain and Arcane Wisdom. With the former of the three closing down in 2014, composer/multi-instrumentalist Bruno embraced his love of “all things movie soundtracks, post-rock, dream-pop and acoustic music in general “to guide his next adventure, Soundscapism Inc. emerging. A self-titled debut in 2015 swiftly revealed the project to be an experiment and exploration that would never be restrained by predictability and genres. It was a creation of sound bound in imagination that truly blossomed within the following Desolate Angels two years later. This was a multi-layer, multi-styled encounter that defied being pinned down track by the track let alone on the whole as emotive atmospheres and enveloping ambiences merged with post, electronic and melodic rock enterprise. Though 2018’s Touching Your Infinity did not quite inflame our passions as its predecessor, the album was a compelling and fascinating escalation of the bold invention and magnetic imagination breeding Soundscapism Inc.’s sound.
Afterglow of Ashes sees Bruno push the envelope yet again and with striking results, its tracks forged in a mix of instrumental and vocalised compulsion and suggestion bound in diversity and individuality. Similarly, as the one expectation within the Soundscapism Inc. invention established over previous releases, light and dark themes, contrasting textures, and rich emotion are merged and immediately luring keen attention within opener Nosedive. Instantly the lively coaxing of guitar had ears gripped, synths laying a melodic glaze over the temptation. As quickly emotion bearing atmospherics then sweep the senses, the track as infectious as it is evocative while its radiance shares suggestion with shadows which subsequently consume as a tempestuous squall erupts.
It is a riveting start to the release which the following Revolutions Per Minute matches with its melodic circles and post rock intimation. Like ripples swimming out from a centre bred in water, that melodic enticement drew the imagination, aligning unpredictable motion and creative intrigue to united electronic and sonic instrumentation. It too has an inherent catchiness and a fertile elegance of light that mesmerises with the darker hue of guest bassist Manuel Costa, who features on nine of the album’s tracks, adding fertility to the track’s melancholic lining.
Just as quickly and firmly Bruno had ears and attention hooked within Bone Without A Dog, his guitar a seductive invitation rich in suggestion and persuasion even before synths and the broader depths of the song’s landscape was unveiled. As those before and those to come, the track lays the seeds for the imagination to conjure with its instrumental weave but equally offers its own rich source of creative insinuation with various shades of light and shadow.
The piano and organ enterprise of Tobias Umbach features on the next three tracks, the calm beauty and wistfully provocative inclination of Reflect Deflect Collect and Walking Out Of The Flames with its pensive and increasingly dramatic breath richly beguiling while Neon Smile provides a synth pop tease within its electronically progressive, post rock suggestive tempting. All three spawned the thickest attention with the latter just as manipulative of the body with its controlled but animation infectiousness; the three together providing our lustiest moment of pleasure.
Through the seventies prog rock scented Earthshine, the elegantly nagging increasingly fiery rock tempest of Between Wild Flowers And Garages, and The Bad Batch with its imposing breath and increasingly threatening trespass of metal volatility, the album only tightened its enthralment. The last of the trio another inescapably addictive moment before Vicodin Wonderland ventured to the other side of the extreme with its joyous light and eager almost mischievous contagion to match the height of temptation; a XTC-esque pastoral pop essences sealing the captivation.
The evocatively and emotively crepuscular All Sad & Done provides a final tapestry of suggestion for ears and imagination to play with; innocence and greed, beauty and darkness embroiled before the release offers up a bonus track in the live and unplugged shape of Kopfkino, recorded live October 2018 and featuring the vocals and rhythm guitar of Usama Siddiq, who also co-produced the new album, and bass of Nik Laskaridis alongside Bruno.
It is a fine end to an outstanding encounter which from start to finish had our ears and imaginations enthralled. Afterglow of Ashes unites with every aspect of the listener, leading them through fertile landscapes and self-reflecting yet worldly adventures; simply Soundscapism Inc. casting their finest moment.
Afterglow of Ashes out in April through Ethereal Sound Works with its digital release available @ https://soundscapisminc.bandcamp.com/album/afterglow-of-ashes
Pete RingMaster 05/04/2021
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