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Vidna Obmana - The Spiritual Bonding CD (album) cover


Vidna Obmana


Progressive Electronic

2.14 | 2 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars The Australian 'Extreme' label was always a safe bet in the early 90's. You knew that what you bought would be a classy well recorded product with which you wouldn't be disappointed. Plus, I'm a real sucker for Corporate ID. All artwork was based on a particular design template which they stuck rigidly to.

The label name is a misnomer, as there wasn't anything extreme to be heard at all. Even the Merzbow 'Music for Bondage' release was his most subdued and least noisy right up until today.

The cheesily named 'Spiritual Bonding' is good on a random track listen but is all a bit too homogeneous. The strange looking little Belgian with squashed face is helped out by ambient maestros 'Robert Rich', 'Steve Roach' and 'Alio Die'.

What you get is an album which is mainly composed of looped electronics, processed tapes, rhythm programming, shells and shakers. A lot of the drums sound almost Gamelan through the effects forced upon them. It's all somewhat ponderous and trudging. There's some vocal chanting thrown in on some tracks that have a huge amount of echo heaped upon them. An abundance of ghostly keyboards keep things from becoming overbearingly dull.

That dreaded 'New Age' instrument of choice - the didgeridoo rears it's ugly head on the title track and despite being put through an electronic effect, still reminds you of the worst excesses of the 90's where there were an abundance of ambient artists all too willing to use rain-sticks, shakers and the like in an effort to make you believe there were the ghosts of Sioux Red Indians involved in the production. That's a real bug-bear with me. Thankfully they vanish after 4 minutes only to be replaced by more plodding beats. Vidna Obmana really could have done with a kick up the butt to get his sorry ass in gear. It's all so slow and predictable. No highlights, no lowlights just a shuffling horde of pleasant electronics and the occasional strangely creepy keyboard chords.

The PVC flute played by Robert Rich on 'From the Stepping Stone' goes one step too far. I'd no idea how quickly and retro an album could become in such a short time span. You know the type of flute - that one that's played at snails pace, is hugely echoed and has the volume cranked up to 10. That's it I've had enough of this!

I almost have to take back what I wrote at the beginning of this review. I guess you can go wrong after-all with the 'Extreme' label. Twenty years ago I remember this album as being cool, original and off the wall. The fact that today is the first outing it's had in 10 years should tell a story in itself. It's lain dormant in my collection for a reason. It's boring.

'Spiritual Bonding' doesn't stand up well to repeated listening and by the half way point you'll be pushing buttons to see how much longer you have to go in this endurance test.

It all eventually wears thin, with too few ideas spread out over too long an album. It should really have been put in the hands of an editor and cut by a good 20 minutes. Disappointing.

Dobermensch | 2/5 |


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