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Alio Die - Alio Die & Lorenzo Montana: Holographic Codex CD (album) cover


Alio Die

Progressive Electronic

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5 stars A trip through their wires.

"HOLOGRAPHIC CODEX", a 2015 release, sets on a different pace in Alio Die's collaborations with other electronic musicians. Now it' s turn for Lorenzo Montana's talents to recreate in Alio Die's universe, when usually it happened otherwise in Die's latter collaborations with other hosts/guests, where he moved along in his host's musical language.

And well, this is how far and modern Die's genial idiom can turn up to be, or let me say, how close can his idiom be of prog/electronics (or the super famous Berlin's "Cosmic Music" school, or the use of electronic rhythm pulses), as usually understood. And how Montana's language adds up these specific electronic routes, which rarely happened as such, I repeat, in other collaboration or Die's solo projects.

The balance between compositions, there are seven, allows the perfect and creative flowing landscapes to develop throughly and free as single unities, yet as in almost all of Die's works, the whole body of work is felt conceptual.

Alio Die's ultra-refined, ethereal, environmental structures are predominant in the majority of the compositions, and for the first time in his collaborative works, I think, it could have been nice, thinking of this as a 2 musicians work, a bit more of the "prog" electronics Montana brings on to this table, but that is asking for the not given.

If you are already familiar with Alio Die's works, this is the all perfect-flawless compositions kind of work (business as usual for Alio Die), in the tenor of his most inspired albums (i.e. "Deconsacrated and Pure" or "Honeysukcle"), if you want to feel surprised, well this album will achieve that, and maybe as me, will have liked a little bit more of those prog/electronics, just for fun!

If you are a newcomer, dwell into it, if lucky (you! I mean), you will hold it in your Prog collection.

I of course, will keep it!

*****5 "flawless-ethereal" PA stars.

Report this review (#1348647)
Posted Monday, January 19, 2015 | Review Permalink
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
5 stars The start of 2015 already delivers a standout progressive/electronic release in the form of `Holographic Codex', a collaboration between two very different Italian musicians, the expansive drone artist Alio Die and soundtrack composer and producer Lorenzo Montanà. The two have literally dozens of previous albums and productions between them, and here they offer a selection of constantly evolving, deeply immersive ambient sounds, delivering a surreal mix of eerie instrumental soundscapes balanced with hypnotic wordless vocal drones and strong ethnic flavours. Despite moments of emotional beauty, much of the material is extremely confronting with an overwhelming disorientating atmosphere, frequently sharing the same kind of exploratory environments of the more mellow Krautrock albums. Both of these artists are in perfect unison here, offering a truly intimate and exotic journey.

The mysterious yet pretty opener `Muns de Etrah' brings a false sense of security and contentment, being a warmer drifting synth drone with a light pleasing skittering beat over the top. The album then instantly takes a gloomier turn. A despondent tormented treated male cry wails over ghostly piano throughout `Hydra e Vers', instantly comparable to the second `Voices of Syn' side of German electronic pioneer Klaus Schulze's dark divisive 1974 masterpiece `Blackdance'. `Silent Rumon' grafts that same voice to slowly unfolding droning ethnic instrumentation with a brooding cinematic quality, the dusty heavy mood similar to Electric Orange's `Volume 10' from 2014. Crystalline shards and clockwork-like thickness levitates before and quickly envelopes the listener throughout `Avkil', and `Egetora' is a slow-motion droning wavering sustained hum around a spectral siren cry.

The fifteen minute `Cinta della Brecia Divina' is a storm of swirling winds inhaling and exhaling like the breath of God, jangling zither chimes, chirping insect ambience and unfolding synth and organ washes over delicate fizzing pulsing beats like `Timewind'-era Klaus Schulze. This mix of sandy ethnic Krautrock flavours and sparse electronics also calls to mind the first two Agitation Free albums. `Eternal Wisdom' then closes the work with impossibly beautiful operatic voices submerged in ebbing ethereal spirals, the very definition of pristine serenity and spiritual bliss.

Only barely three weeks into 2015, and we've already seen outstanding (and all completely different) ambient releases in the form of Steve Roach's `Invisible', Ishq's `Autumn Light/Winter Light' and Altus' `The Time Collection', and now most impressive of all is this one. Alio Die and Lorenzo Montanà's album is for electronic (and Krautrock) listeners who don't like simple, pretty ambient music, instead preferring challenging, expansive and thought-provoking compositions, the sort of music that completely alters the environment around you. `Holographic Codex' is deeply meditative, hypnotic and already utterly timeless, making it one of the first essential progressive music related releases of 2015.

Five stars.

Report this review (#1349541)
Posted Tuesday, January 20, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm not a fan of ambient music or progressive electronic except some artists like Tangerine Dream (RIP Edgar Froese), Brian Eno, Klaus Schulze and Ashra. I didn't know Alio Die before this release. So i'm not a fan of this style, I have to recognize that the work of Alio Die and his partner Lorenzo Montana really know their job. The atmosphere is well done. It's very tripp and well made. It's such a shame that I'm not fond of ambient and electronic prog, because if I was, I would love this album. All the fans of this style should love Holographic Codex (I like this title very much by the way).
Report this review (#1349809)
Posted Wednesday, January 21, 2015 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Another one of Stefano Musso ("AlioDie")'s very successful collaborations, Holographic Codex explores some meditative, contemplative soundscapes that continue, for me, to evoke sacred religious sites--especially those of Christian and Muslim sacred and secular traditions. The opener, "Muns de Etrah" (6:58) makes me feel like I am walking around the streets and alleys of a some Arabian city in the middle of the day, always seeking the shadows with their possibility of cooler temperatures in order to find respite from the midday heat. (10/10)

2. "Hydra e Vers" (5:16) reminds me of a visit to the ancient mosque in Cordoba, Spain, when the facilities were virtually empty and yet the strains of voice and instruments in practice could be heard reverberating, as if from distant rooms, throughout the vaulted rooms and hallways. Islamic "call to prayer" type singing (heavily treated) with heavily treated piano and other soundscape-filling synthesized sounds make for a very neutral, very supportive ambience. (10/10)

3. "Akvil" (9:35) sounds strikingly similar to the cords struck by Larry Gordon to open the first song, "The Dance #1" but then of the pace and tempo of "5. Meditation #1" from the 1981 Eno/Laraaji collaboration, Ambient 3: Day of Radiance. In the third minute there arises some deep bass chords and several octaves of chimes taking the song into a more meditative direction. The emotions conjured up with this music are not necessarily pleasant but, instead, more evocative of shadow imagery and emotions. (9/10)

4. "Silent Rumon" (15:16) present fifteen minutes of pure disconcertment. The musical strains are unsettling, sometimes even disturbing or scary. Truly a masterpiece for bringing up the shadow side of our being. (9.5/10)

5. "Egetora" (5:24) a kind of nondescript but not unpleasant song; not plain, good but not great. (8.5/10)

6. "Cinta della Breccia Divina" (15:14) treated organ, synthesizers and plucked string instruments with some droning sounds alternating among several octave ranges. (9/10)

7. "Eternal Wisdom" (6:12) is the most uplifting song on the album--and what a relief! After such heavy, murky ambivalence, it is such a relief to experience such a spiritual uplift--almost like a resurrection; radiance, beauty and redemption. A wonderful way to end the album. (10/10)

A true masterpiece of progressive electronic music.

Report this review (#1545806)
Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2016 | Review Permalink

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