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Aglaia — Along the Vast Ancient River
(Projekt no#, 2023, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-07-02

Along the Vast Ancient River Cover art

Projekt’s latest release by Aglaia (Gino Fioravanti) is this magical swirling epic, a heady and immersive mix of acoustic sounds, electronics, found sounds, and studio effects, effectively a double album (though it’s only available as a download) with one long track per side. If I would have had this when I was a teenager, I would have stayed home all day listening to it over and over and never gone to school; as it is, I just want to drown in these sounds. Each play reveals something new and mysterious, covering the listener like a warm blanket of shimmering moonlight. I can’t say I’ve heard a lot of Aglaia’s music, only Perennial Source that Projekt released in 2022, and several older collaborations with Alio Die (with whom Aglaia shares much in common, soundwise), but based on those alone, I’m set to go exploring the rest of his catalog, which contains around 60 releases since 2003. Along the Vast Ancient River is like the soundtrack to four parts of the same dream, where the sounds of rumbling and shimmering electronics mix freely with acoustic instruments like zither, hammered dulcimer, balofon, perhaps bowed strings as well, and the odd percussives — not to maintain a cadence, but to underscore and emphasize other sounds, and of course nearly all of this is treated to a vast swath of studio treatments that seem to affect the entire space which the sound exists within. The listener won’t notice the passage of time, as every moment seems to exist exclusively within its own world, reaching out in all directions at once, freeing the imagination to roam freely. “Sailing Clouds” opens the proceedings and establishes the currents and eddys that flow like a river throughout, which is then taken up by “The Left Bank of the River” that effortlessly flows in majestic beauty. “Autumn Drift” guides the listener along a serene path for 24 minutes until it fades to black, where “Birth of a Transparent Heart” starts and directs the remainder of this journey. For those who appreciate Alio Die, Jarguna, Lorenzo Montaná, or classic Popol Vuh, there is plenty here to hold a listener’s interest.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Aglaia

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