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Aube Variable Ambit album cover
2.21 | 8 ratings | 4 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ambit
2. Strayed Base
3. Strayed Base Oblique
4. Crocked Fringe
5. Vector Inside
6. Ambush
7. V/A
8. V/A R

Line-up / Musicians

Akifumi Nakajima / Everything

Releases information

Label : Housepig

Thanks to Sheavy for the addition
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AUBE Variable Ambit ratings distribution

(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(12%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (25%)
Poor. Only for completionists (50%)

AUBE Variable Ambit reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
1 stars 'Variable Ambit' - Aube (1/10)

Be it some sort of oddly morbid fascination, but on top of striving to find the best music out there, I also find myself attracted to albums that are universally panned and considered the 'worst'. It is indeed interesting how everyone may own a different set of ears, but when it comes down to it, we can agree on some things generally speaking. Yes' 'Close To The Edge' is a masterpiece of prog rock, Iron Maiden's 'Number Of The Beast' is a classic for heavy metal, and so forth. But perhaps for the same psychological reasoning that made Rebecca Black's 'Friday' such a hit, I've found myself drawn towards Aube's 'Variable Ambit', an album that was described to me by a new friend as one of the worst things imaginable. While there are albums like 'St. Anger' that people love to hate most often, I get the feeling after even sampling what 'Variable Ambit' is all about that it may very well not only be one of, but the most unpleasant album I have ever heard. I wish I was joking.

First, it should be covered that I am not opposed to 'noise' music, there is some that I actually like quite a bit. Ambient music is also no problem for me. However, when music literally causes physical duress while listening to it, there can be a problem. Aube opens up this album with one of the most cringing sounds I have ever heard; a high pitched beep that was physically painful to hear regardless of how low I turned the volume down. The first three seconds of 'Variable Ambit' should cover why I hate this. While even one high pitched electronic bleep would have put me off the album for good, the sound keeps repeating; getting more painful as your ears beg you to mute it.

To prove that I have in fact listened to the album (and am sorely regretting it), the title track 'Variable Ambit' and 'Ambush' are the two tracks which feature this high pitched bleeping the most, and regardless of how open your mind is to music, the sheer frequency may result in a migraine, so you are warned. Apart from that, there is some electronic ambiance of a lower register that is nothing pleasant to listen to, but is at least interesting in the way the sound is tweaked and mechanized. A droning hum that the noise musician here noodles around with can make some pretty strange sounds here, but there is the feeling that there was absolutely no purpose to what he is doing here, instead tending to fiddle around with his equipment seemingly at random. While that would be worth saying some negative things about in the first place, it seems like gold when compared to the dreaded bleeps. And while it would often be narrow to focus on one sound in reviewing an album, that's what composes much of the album's sound.

If five seconds of this album could cause me pain, then I could never recommend this to anyone, not even an intense fan of noise music. Calling this album horrible stops becoming a matter of personal taste once the sounds start damaging one's hearing range. Perhaps the album can be used as some rite of initiation in the Yakuza to make sure only the strong are admitted into their ranks. Atrociously bad.

Review by colorofmoney91
4 stars This newly released album by Aube is jam packed full of alienating discomfort. Fortunately, I kind of like it. I've been a fan of other Japanese noise artists (Merzbow, Masonna, etc.) for some time now, and Aube is always an interesting listen. This album, Variable Ambit, is not far off from other albums in the noise genre, but it comes of as a bit subdued when compared to albums that are being released by Aube's contemporaries.

The sound of this album is often earsplitting. I would believe that just about any other human on this planet has an evolutionary response to shun anything that sounds like the music present on this album. But, if you can get past that response, the earsplitting ambience and drones are quite pleasant. If you've ever been in a silent room all by yourself, and suddenly your ears start to ring and everything else around you seems only slightly louder (dripping sink, oscillating of a fan, ticking of a clock, etc.) then you'll understand the sound of this album. The resonating and echoing qualities of this album give it an eerie industrial kind of feel that is actually very refreshing, since Merzbow tends to be full-force train-wreck soundtracks. The Kiyoshi Kurosawa film Kairo (a.k.a. Pulse, here in the states), though I don't recall the sound of the soundtrack, I would imagine would be greatly paired with this album for its ghostly and computerized/industrialized manipulations of terror and insanity.

Maybe this review doesn't make this album sound pleasant at all, but I'm sure fellow noise fans will understand my position. I'll be honest, the first few seconds made me believe that Variable Ambit was going to be completely unbearable. I figured that the earsplitting demonic zap at the album's start was a precursor to complete brain-scrambling frequencies, and I need my brain, me being a very serious student. Fortunately, this album is just as enjoyable as my favorite noise albums, and has definitely become one of my favorites. This isn't very accessible by any means, but again, I'm sure other noise fans will find much to love about this noisy album.

Review by Negoba
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.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars I'm a noise fan.

Just thought I'd say that before I ramble.

Not many can handle the pure walls of noise that for me creates a really beautiful sort of texture that is unreachable otherwise. Artists like Aube and Merzbow (both Japanese artists, I might add) are excellent in the art of manipulating noise and creating some really great music that, despite it's aggressiveness, I find very listenable.

Now this Aube album turned even me off in the start with those high static pitches in the beginning, but that is nowhere near the best part of the album. It's a shame, really, starting off that badly. That's the kind of noise that just gives me a headache. After the first track, the rest of the album is much more gentle (if you can call it that) and enjoyable. Aube is amazing when it comes to production and it shows, the Merzbow-like sounds are what make up the rest of the album.

For the brave of heart, and the first track needs to be skipped.

3 stars.

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