PRO00292

Alio Die & Sylvi Alli: Amidst the Circling Spires

$14.00

SKU: PRO00292. Category: , , , , , .

Tracks

1 The inner sea (silver sea)
2 Dreaming tree
3 Crepuscular birds
4 La grotta delle Naiadi
5 Numinous veins
6 Across a splendid vista
7 Revenir

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Amidst the Circling Spires is a captivating electro-ambient journey into an interior space, weaving visions of strong emotional impact. Sylvi’s heavenly voice drifts within the highly processed acoustic sounds created by Alio Die: a hybrid between – sonorous soundscapes and acoustic mysticism. The treated tones are an essential magma – organic and animated – luring the listener in like an ancestral call or an ancient saga. The loops, played with carillon, kalimba, zither, different objects and field recordings, blend into finely-detailed layered and treated.

Sylvi’s voice is intense and moving, evanescent and precise – each song a mantra exploring a unique soundworld. Her vocals interact deeply with the melodies and atmosphere of Alio Die as they weave together like dark roots underground.

The ecstatic and ritualistic landscapes that these artists offer shine with a magic all their own – giving rise to a multiple array of meditations perfectly mixed with unique pathos and abstraction.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alio Die is the artistic name of Stefano Musso’s shimmering, expansive dronescaping project. Italy’s Musso’s began in experimental ambient research which evolved into the work of Alio Die in 1989. He is also known for his fruitful collaboration with Robert Rich, vidnaObmana, Mathias Grassow and others. Characterized by evocative and textural sounds manipulated and tendered electronically, Alio Die’s work builds intimate organic atmospheres tied to the mystery and majesty of life and nature: a poignant and ecstatic journey of music.

Sylvi Alli is a Bay Area-based singer, musician, and composer whose style ranges widely from neo-folk to ambient to experimental; her focus and passion is exploring the boundaries of vocal expression. She works mainly as a solo artist, having recorded and produced four albums released by Vertical Pool, and has composed music for numerous film soundtracks, as well as for dance and theater. Alli has been a core member of ParaTheatrical ReSearch since 1997.

Release Date: Jan 21 2014

Weight .3 lbs
Artist

Alio Die & Sylvi Alli

Label

Projekt

Release Year

2014

Format

CD in 6-panel Digipak

Reviews

  1. Reviews Editor

    Review  –:

    From Santa Sangre

    Amidst The Circling Spires is another point in Italian Alio Die’s large discography. This time, Stefano Musso didn’t deliver the music via his own enterprise, that is Hic Sunt Leones, but has entrusted this task to Projekt Records from the United States. Just like Deconsecrated And Pure in 2012 and his “female” collaborations (with Martina Galvagni, Amelia Cuni and the Japanese group Jack Or Jive). I mention this not without reason, as Stefano has also recorded the album discussed here in collaboration with a representative of the fairer sex, Sylvi Alli.

    It seems that the segregation of duties was clear during the recording of Amidst The Circling Spires. Sylvi lends her voice, Stefano is responsible for the instrumental layering, electronics and field recordings. Both musicians supplement each other, none of them predominates over the other. The opening of the disc, “The Inner Sea (Silver Sea)”, is notably beautiful, as Sylvi’s unique voice and the quiet, warm drones generated by Stefano merge into one and flow together carried by sea currents. In the next few compositions the Italian musician moves his electronic textures into the background, allowing the field recordings and live instruments to have their voice heard in a broader spectrum – including a zither, the sound of which he loves so much. The first culmination of the album, “La Grotta Delle Naiadi”, seems to be over eleven minutes long: subtle, yet redolent with some anxiety. The specific sounds and passages Stefano often bases his compositions on, are here distantly echoed while silence plays first fiddle; a silence perturbed only by the sound of rain, gentle tinkers and Sylvi Alli’s mystical chants. An extraordinary composition, possibly the best on the album.

    With “Numinous Veins” the listener goes deeper underground in the cave from the title of the preceding piece. It’s in a sense a continuation of “La Grotta Delle Naiadi”, although of an even darker shade and filled with moisture, reverb and mystery. Only thanks to “Across A Splendid Vista” we find our way back to the light. This segment is very characteristic of Alio Die achievements of the past few years, based on soothing drones drifting freely in the air, through which quasimedieval motifs occasionally worm their way. There’s nothing new if we speak about the current aspect of the music made by this Tuscan artist, but so what, since it is so pleasant to listen?

    “Revenir” is the album’s finale. Maybe not a ‘grand’ finale as it’s the shortest track of Amidst The Circling Spires, but I consider it as a second culmination and at the same time a stylish crowning of Sylvi and Stefano’s cooperation. Her vocals float the listener into the clouds and allow him to feel as light as a feather, almost vanish into thin air. Until I’m overtaken by regret that silence is coming so fast. Perhaps the two musicians will unite their forces again sometime, because this time they did really well. Perfectly balanced different moods, those of a lighter color, as well as those a bit more gray, almost passing into black. Overall, however, the music calms and distracts from reality. Each year I plan to visit Tuscany and an obstacle always occurs, but thanks to Alio Die I at least have this kind of pleasant substitute, which Sylvi has ennobled in a very special way.

  2. Reviews Editor

    Review  –:

    From Synth & Sequences

    “With its mix of ethereal voices and hoarse breezes, Amidst the Circling Spires depicts a fascinating duality between charming opposites.”

    The first time that my ears have kissed embraced the fascinating and the meditative ambient universe of Alio Die was with Deconsecrated And Pure (PRO270) in 2012. The adventure had left with me a bit uncertain with those contemplative musical structures where the music was created from winds and drones from which the ancient tonalities lifted up dusts of rattlers and other percussions to stony tones. Except that Amidst the Circling Spires leads us to another level. A very meditative level where the very beautiful elvish voice of Sylvi Alli embellishes the hoarse breaths of the drones and the lugubrious ambiences of a sonic universe molded on the artifacts of a more acoustic EM. The union of both contrasts becomes then all the charm of this last album from the Italian sonic painter.

    And the universe of Alio Die is always ambient, always floating. At the limit of the contemplative New Age. The drones which rise at the introduction of “The Inner Sea (Silver Sea)” take a tint as much translucent as the delicate breezes of synths and of their breaths which make sing some twinkling particles. One would believe to hear lamentations of the solar gods on a sonic pattern which reminds some Buddhist prayers while that, so mysterious, the voice of Sylvi Alli blows a suave poetry which is murmured by the breezes of her voice. The fusion of the synths to her voice offers a rather moving sonic show which adds a veil of serenity to some very esoteric titles such as “Dreaming Tree” and its ballet of percussions which sound like an old musical box or still the very peaceful “Numinous Veins” and its symphony of hollow breaths. Her voice, which is as much mesmerizing as that of Alquimia, is also very celestial on “Crepuscular Birds” which presents a slow structure quite as meditative but where the long and sinuous drone lamentations add a dramatic dimension to a sound panorama decorated by tinkling sounds. We commune with ourselves and we doze off on “La Grotta Delle Naiadi” which plunges us literally into the gaps of a grotto where, isolated, the listener is captive of his thoughts. The atmospheres of contemplative prayers are dense and to cut with a knife in this soundscape pattern where the water oozes among thick clouds of synth layers of which the hollow breaths let filter a bright ray of voice. Less dark, “Across a Splendid Vista” is just as much intrusive with its slender synth lines where sing flutes and drones as much musical that immersive. At this stage, we sleep! But we have to persist and to hang on to our meditative thoughts in order to listen to the very beautiful and delicate “Revenir”. The morphic voice of Sylvi Alli is simply heavenly. Together with the delicate jerked synth pads, she floats to let slide her pensive prayers in the hollow of our ears. And we hear these muted pulsations beat, like in “Across a Splendid Vista”, pulsing like a circadian poetry so that to put us in sleep mode and better guide us towards the sleep.

    The life is stressful? We have the impression that the whole world wants our skin and even our bones? Well I would tell you that Amidst the Circling Spires is the ideal remedy to calm this soft temporary paranoia. This subtle battle between the opalescent voice of Sylvi Alli and the hoarse, sibylline breaths of synths and drones of Alio Die is the heart of an unreal beauty where everything inhales tranquillity and even in the moments more disturbing as in “La Grotta Delle Naiadi.” -Sylvain Lupari

  3. richard.gurtler@hotmail.com

    Review  –:

    From Relaxed Machinery

    The long awaited collaboration between Italian sound explorer Stefano Musso/Alio Die and in Berkeley, California based singer Sylvi Alli was released during January, 2014, on Projekt. While prolific Italian sculptor Alio Die is widely recognized, the name Sylvi Alli was new to me, thus she deserves here a little introduction. Sylvi Alli has started her artistic career with classical piano, but soon she turned into painting (1976-1993) and since 1995 she began singing. Her discography includes several solo CDs and soundtracks for theater and film, which feature also underground movies directed by Sylvi’s husband Antero Alli (Sylvi is also acting in many of Antero’s films). They both run Vertical Pool Productions, an intermedia arts group. And on the top of this, Sylvi Alli is also designing and handcrafting original jewelry on her LunarMuse shop.

    As usual for all Alio Die releases, Amidst The Circling Spires CD is housed in gorgeously designed 6-panel digipak, with cover photo and concept by His Sunt Leones, while Sam Rosenthal handles the graphic design. The album opens with “The Inner Sea (Silver Sea)”, it’s a very tranquil and meditative neo-medieval flavored composition. Alio Die’s gorgeously evocative and distinguishing soundsculpting is more than apparent, this time is precisely enriched by ethereal voice magic by Sylvi Alli. The harmony between Stefano’s electroacoustic textures and Sylvi’s vocal expressions is absolutely magical, a truly embracing effect is quickly achieved. I am hooked immediately by this serenely captivating composition!!! Bravo, Sylvi & Stefano!!! “Dreaming Tree” starts with minimal texture, slightly more cacophonous and primordial blending all those acoustic and organic subtleties. Sylvi Alli’s colorful vocal wizardry adds a new dimension to this mysteriously fragranced reverie. On the next piece, “Crepuscular Birds”, the two main protagonists are joined also by Lingua Fungi (taking care of zither, e-bow and effects). Poignant neo-medieval strings quietly intermingle with more droney parts, organic sounds occasionally emerge, all safely guarded by utterly gorgeous heavenly voices. The more sparser is the texture, the more expressively intense is its overall mood, which paints a really wonderful state of serenity!!! With “La Grotta Delle Naiadi” the listener is invited to enter into spectacular cavernous domains, where velvety tinkles hauntingly interact with warmly expanding and meandering washes. Soothingly engrossing fragile rainy sounds inconspicuously sneak in through the large opening. Sylvi’s gracious voice bravura distinguishably enriches these uniquely magical and deeply contemplative sceneries. Lorenzo Montanà is credited for additional electronics and effects on this masterpiece. Yes, be prepared for nearly 12 minutes of pure sonic bliss!!! The following piece, “Numinous Veins”, remains in deeply mysterious terrains, deliberately merging slender electroacoustics, comprised mostly of tenser strings, eerie howls and mesmerizing percussive transitions, with crystalline field recordings and excelling emotional voice. “Across A Splendid Vista” immediately shifts into neo-medieval paths leaded by dazzlingly beautiful zither magic, flimsy tinkles and warmly undulating atmospherics. The track title exactly displays this delightful journey!!! On the closing “Revenir” Sylvi Alli returns with her heavenly voice virtuosity. The soundscape keeps on floating and circling, with distant beat unobtrusively hanging above, and painting pleasingly meditative images.

    Amidst The Circling Spires album is absolutely triumphant collaboration of two artists, who are deeply dedicated to their artistic expressions, their unrestrained passion and unique fragrances make from this recording a truly gracious and majestic listening experience, and certainly fully rewarding too. Another big one from this Italian master and big grazie to Stefano for bringing Sylvi Alli to this artful spectacle!!! Once again, bravo to Alio Die & Sylvi Alli (and their guests)!!! -Richard Gürtler

  4. Reviews Editor

    Review  –:

    From Darkroom

    Lavoro a quattro mani dalla forte carica seduttiva, Amidst The Circling Spires si riallaccia alla grande tradizione etnico-oscura che fa capo alla seconda stagione artistica dei Dead Can Dance, nonché ai nostri Ataraxia. L’album segue le direttive stilistiche proprie di Alio Die, progetto italiano guidato da Stefano Musso sin dal lontano 1989 e sempre dedito ad un’ambient magica che apre le porte di mondi lontani, grazie al mix di elettronica e strumenti tradizionali. Sylvi Alli, compositrice versatile con all’attivo album personali, varie collaborazioni e partecipazioni a soundtrack, presta la sua voce eterea a sublimazione di un sound riflessivo e ieratico, costruito anche col supporto esterno dell’act Lingua Fungi e del musicista Lorenzo Montanà.

    I suoni prendono forma dall’unione di alcuni classici procedimenti sperimentali e post-industriali (temi ripetuti in loop, drones e field recordings) con strumenti squisitamente ricercati (carillon, kalimba, flauto, zither ed oggetti adeguatamente trattati) per generare un’esplosione di toni etnici, a volte immersi nell’oscurità, altre illuminati da luci naturali e antiche. Ogni traccia ci trasporta in un’aura meditativa cullata da una natura incontaminata (ben sottolineata dagli stessi titoli), con i suoni che rifulgono in una tranquillità sacrale. All’interno di questo mondo perduto risuona la voce di Sylvi, quasi fosse una brezza che corre soave sulle note esotiche di Musso. Il risultato finale è un ritualismo paradisiaco che riesce ad incrociare il gusto per la melodia alla ricercatezza formale e ai riferimenti tradizionali. Perfettamente in linea con lo stile prezioso che caratterizza alcuni degli ultimi lavori di Alio Die (su tutti Deconsecrated and Pure del 2012), ma anche con l’eleganza cristallina di altre produzioni dell’americana Projekt (Forrest Fang, Steve Reich). Un album che profuma sottilmente di infinito. Rating: 7.5 -Michele Viali

  5. Reviews Editor

    Review  –:

    From Rock Portaal

    Lisa Gerrard! De stem van Sylvi Alli klinkt net zo als het fenomeen van Dead Can Dance. Zeker wanneer de muziek van Alio Die ook aan dezelfde band herinnert. Zoals tijdens opener ‘The Inner Sea (Silver Sea)’ en de afsluiter van dit album ‘Revenir’. Amidst The Circling Spires is echter meer experimenteel. De muziek van de Italiaan Stefano Musso (het brein achter Alio Die) klinkt echter meer richting ambient soundscapes dan een mix van wereld en filmmuziek. Met de hulp van Sylvi Alli dit album is gevuld met indrukwekkende heavenly voices. Helaas kunnen niet alle nummers de kwaliteit van de eerder genoemde nummers evenaren. ‘Dreaming Tree’ is een beetje teveel experiment en klinkt meer als een stuurloze soundscape jazz fusion. De draad tussen genius en gekte is echter weer erg dun. Het daaropvolgende nummer ’Crepuscular Birds’ heeft dezelfde aanpak als ’Dreaming Tree’, maar intrigeert veel meer. En dat ongeveer tien minuten lang. Alio Die & Sylvi Alli onderzoeken ook de donkere kanten van de muziek. Zoals, in de ook weer meer dan tien minuten klokkende, ’La Grotta Delle Naiadi’ en de langzaam opgebouwde ’Numinous Veins’. Amidst The Circling Spires is een opmerkelijke reis door een heavenly (voices) soundscape wereld. -Ron Schoonwater

    English at Peek a Boo

    Lisa Gerrard! The voice of SYLVI ALLI sounds just like the phenomenon from Dead Can Dance. The dark ambient music from ALIO DIE resembles the same band sometimes as well, like in opener ‘The Inner Sea (Silver Sea)’ and the last song on this album ‘Revenir’. Amidst The Circling Spires is however more experimental.

    The music of the Italian Stefano Musso (mastermind of ALIO DIE) is more drawn into the direction of ambient soundscapes than a mixture of world and film music. With the help of SYLVI ALLI this album is filled with impressive heavenly voices. The high standard isn’t always there in all the songs. ‘Dreaming Tree’ is a bit too much experiment and sounds more like an uncontrollable soundscape jazz fusion. The thread between genius and madness is (like always) very thin. The following song ’Crepuscular Birds’ got the same elements as ‘Dreaming Tree’ but sounds much more intriguing. And that over ten minutes long. ALIO DIE & SYLVI ALLI examines the more dark parts of the music as well. Like in, the again over ten minutes clocking, ‘La Grotta Delle Naiadi’ and the slowly build ’Numinous Veins’. Amidst The Circling Spires is a remarkable journey into a heavenly (voices) soundscape world. -Ron Schoonwater

  6. Reviews Editor

    Review  –:

    From De Subjectivisten

    De Italiaan Stefano Musso is al sinds 1989 actief met zijn dark ambient project Alio Die. Hij heeft naast solo albums ook diverse samen met artiesten als Vidna Obmana, Robert Rich, Nick Parkin, Mathias Grassow, Zeit, Werner Durand en vele anderen gemaakt. Tevens heeft hij door de jaren heen met verschillende zangeressen gewerkt, wat voor mij tot zijn betere werken gerekend mogen worden. De ambient met etherische vocalen missen z’n uitwerking namelijk niet. Nu brengt hij samen met de experimentele zangeres/muzikante Sylvi Alli een cd uit. Zij heeft al diverse werken op haar naam staan die ergens tussen wereldmuziek, avant-garde, elektro-akoestische muziek en gothic uitkomen. Daarbij voorziet ze ook meer dan eens films van haar man Antero Alli van muziek. Samen brengen ze nu een prachtige mix van ambient, drones en hemelse zang, die ergens tussen SPK, Loren Nerell, Mathias Grassow en Dead Can Dance uitkomt. Bijna een uur lang houden deze twee je op zachte wijze in de houdgreep. Biologerende pracht! -Jan Willem Broek

  7. Reviews Editor

    Review  –:

    From Ondarock

    Se escludiamo una collaborazione con il fido Zeit, pubblicata sulla sua Hic Sunt Leones senza uno straccio di promozione, per tutto l’anno scorso non si è sentito parlare di Alio Die. E la faccenda è decisamente strana per un musicista che dal 2006 aveva abituato a sfornare almeno tre-quattro dischi ogni dodici mesi tra progetti solisti e collaborazioni, tutti equamente spartiti fra il suo personale catalogo e quello sempre brulicante della benemerita Projekt.
    L’improvvisa e drastica riduzione di prolificità potrebbe essere stata causata dalla lavorazione, durante il 2013, di molti progetti in via di completamento: proprio verso questa ipotesi tende a far propendere l’uscita a pochi giorni dall’inizio del 2014 di questo nuovo album del re dell’ambient music esoterica.

    Amidst The Circling Spires inaugura un nuovo sodalizio pronto ad aggiungersi alla lunga serie che già compone il curriculum del musicista italiano: stavolta è il turno di Sylvi Alli, cantante e ricercatrice attiva nel mondo del teatro e del cinema con alle spalle già quattro album solisti, intenta nel mescolare la sua voce a trame sonore dal piglio avant, pregne di echi dalla musica antica. Un universo che sembra fatto apposta per intersecarsi con la frangia più rituale del vastissimo arsenale del guru milanese, quella spiritico-etnica esplorata per capirsi recentemente al fianco di Lingua Fungi. Il risultato della collaborazione è una forma amorfa e complessa di world music ambientale, dove i droni di Alio Die si fanno sottili e silenziosi per lasciar spazio agli strumenti acustici (chitarra, e-bow, kalimba e, soprattutto, zither) e alla voce di Alli, imponente e ben rappresentante l’importanza del suo contributo all’intero progetto.

    I brani si dividono di fatto in due sottoinsiemi: nel primo l’anima quieta dei droni incontra una marcata spinta etnica, avvicinandosi in maniera circospetta ma progressiva al Forrest Fang del capolavoro “Migrations”. Così, in “The Inner Sea (Silver Sea)” i richiami portano alla tradizione celtica più selvaggia e incontaminata, lo strumentale “Across A Splendid Vista” sprofonda negli abissi di un lago ghiacciato circondato da montagne innevate e la breve e sublime “Revenir” conclude nelle tiepide carezze di qualche flebile raggio di sole.
    L’altra faccia della medaglia è costituita da quattro oscure sculture che riproducono antichi rituali nelle loro pratiche quanto nell’ambiente di esecuzione: nel puro esoterismo in stile primissimi Dead Can Dance di “Crepuscolar Birds” il già citato Lingua Fungi guida la carica allo zither, nello spettrale mantra di “Dreaming Tree” campane e fruscii di vento conducono nel mondo della Constance Demby sciamana.

    “La grotta delle Naiadi” musica un viaggio nell’omonimo luogo dove la luce, inscenata dalle sinewaves, perde progressivamente potenza per lasciare spazio a un tripudio di stalattiti e rintocchi glaciali e alla voce sempre più riveberata di Alli. L’uscita dalle viscere è affidata al sinistro notturno di “Numinous Veins”, sorta di sosta sulla riva di un fiume scuro e fangoso, dal corso irregolare e dalla corrente instabile.
    Un fiume che è anche potenziale perfetta rappresentazione del percorso sensoriale a cui il disco sottopone: non un capolavoro, non un album perfetto, ma un sentiero che fa dell’irregolarità, della complessità d’accesso e di adattamento e dell’ambizione necessaria a affrontarlo i suoi tratti più caratterizzanti e (di nuovo, estremamente) affascinanti. Rating: 7 (very good) -Matteo Meda

  8. Reviews Editor

    Review  –:

    From Sequenzer Welten

    Zusammen mit der Sängerin Sylvi Alli bringt Ambientspezialist Alio Die nun die Amidst The Circling Spires auf den Markt …. und ich muss sagen : es ist wirklich sehr “Spezielle Musik”. Es sind eigentlich Klangcollagen, die Alio Die zusammenführt. Keine Melodien, keine Flächen : die Musik lebt ausschließlich von der Stimmung. Töne, die weit aus der Tiefe kommen. Hier steht mehr der Gesang von Sylvi Alli im Vordergrund, der ein wenig an den Stil von Lisa Gerrard erinnert.
    Das Gesamtpaket würde ich so beschreiben, als wenn man in eine fremde, spirituelle Welt eintaucht, die sehr mystisch, aber auch surreal erscheint. Auf jeden Fall schafft Alio Die es, den Hörer zu fesseln :-)
    Es ist zwar recht schwer dran zu bleiben, aber es ist ebenso schwer sich dieser fesselnden Athmosphäre zu entziehen …..

    Ein wirklich sehr spezielles Werk für “Hardcore-Deep-Ambient-Freunde” :-)) -Uwe Sasse

  9. Reviews Editor

    Review  –:

    From Expose

    Alio Die is the artistic nom-de-plume of Italian ambient dronescape composer Stefano Musso, releasing over two dozen releases either on his own or in collaboration with others since the early 1990s. His is a name one can rely on for top shelf floating ambient music; his 2003 collaboration Expanding Horizons with Matthias Grassow is a case in point: pure magic, a 2LP set that continues to fascinate and enthrall me no matter how many times I listen to it. The other five-or-so releases I’ve heard carry a similar spellbinding quality. For Amidst the Circling Spires, he has teamed up with Berkeley, California based vocalist Sylvi Alli for what is at once a dark, mysterious and emotional journey through electro-ambient space, with gentle shimmering touches of gothic and medieval worlds. Alio Die for his part provides the sounding board based on loops of bells, gongs, percussion, zither, kalimba, and found sounds, all heavily layered and treated, creating the perfect studio textures over which Alli’s voice can float freely. Additional guests provide zither, e-bow, electronics and effects, track depending. There are seven long tracks in all, the approach of each is similar, only the instrumentation and voice trajectories change, with seemingly real-time improvisations creating trance-like atmospheres that a listener can easily get lost within. This is one of those discs you’ll want to set on endless repeat and listen to over and over until the first light of day arrives. -Peter Thelen

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