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Aube - Variable Ambit CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

2.22 | 7 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
1 stars In Violation of the Geneva Conventions

Like Conor, I found my way to this album on its reputation as one of the worst ever. Before anyone even attempts to play this piece, I'd like to provide some idea of what it is. Variable Ambit is a sonic experiment where artist Akifumi Nakajima twiddles with what sounds like a frequency generator for about an hour. Rather than using the pure oscilloscope wave forms, he uses a specific sampled source sound for each record. On VA it's feedback. If you've ever had a hearing test and listened as the examiner dials through the frequencies, that's the basic sound of the album. Some degree of layering does occur, and some effects are applied, but for the most part this is collection of pure tones manipulated for emotional effect without anything resembling traditional music.

Nakajima actually does a few moderately interesting things with his frequency designs, and some of those ideas are better on VA than other albums of his I sampled. However, this album has a specific quality that makes it perhaps a perfect weapon of torture. While the artist does cover the frequency spectrum to some degree, for some reason he concentrates on the 5000- 15000 hz range which is at the upper limit of older human's hearing. Even 5000 hz is high enough to sound like a whistle, and Aube keeps this frequency range at high volume throughout much of the album. While there's no accounting for taste, I think that most people find these tones noxious, if not downright painful. The mix is such that in order to bring the whistles down to non-painful levels, everything else drops out. Careful use of a graphic equalizer might help, but that assumes the listener is interested enough in the sound experiment to put that much work in.

If you like noise experiments, the parts without the whistle register tones are mildly interesting. I could see them being used in a trippy horror movie. But even then, there's not really enough going on to merit listening to this on its own. Its only possibly function (in my mind) would be as a soundtrack to some un-named activity or other experimental art piece.

I actually would have rated this 2/5 without the pain part. But it was EXTREMELY hard to listen to this album all the way through. I did it. It was like a sonic uphill marathon. I may actually try rate some of Aube's other work above 1 star, but this one will be only for enemies.

Negoba | 1/5 |


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