Aglaia: Along the vast ancient river (digital)

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Product Description

01 Sailing clouds
02 The left bank of the river
03 Autumn drift
04 Birth of a transparent heart

Genre: Meditation, Ambient, Relaxation
RIYL: Alio Die, Popul Vuh, jarguna

The pools of meditative electro-acoustic music on Italian sound-artist Aglaia’s second Projekt release are imbued with calming warmth, enchanting subtlety and shimmering mystery. The electronic sound is the wave, and the acoustic sound is the rippling of the wave catching the sparkle of light. With the shortest of the four pieces clocking in at nearly a quarter-hour, Along the vast ancient river is the 72nd album from Gino Fioravanti’s Aglaia, including many with compatriot Alio Die.

“As I submerged myself in listening,” Gino reflects, “I immediately felt a force similar to that of an ancient river filling the space in my room. The glittering of the acoustic notes like the light reflected on the watery crests highlight different sounds, different points of view, as different moods arise. In that moment, the river, the man and the music recognize each other and exchange knowledge. The delta of the river is a place that becomes a microcosm. Not ethereal, but living in organic ferment. Its elements are memories that transform into vegetation and animals, curves, eddies and currents.”

Throughout, a meditative consciousness takes hold, full of impressions, sensations, emotions. It carries with it a sense of purification (samskaras.) We can sail or swim, contemplate or stroll along its shores. It can be autumn. It may be morning, afternoon or evening, night. The water sounds, the wind sounds. The weather plays.

Gino describes the four tracks:

In track one
The acoustic sound is indistinct, without a center. I treated it differently from how sound was used on my previous album, Perennial source. The acoustic and electronic dimensions merge as if they were one stream, rippling, indistinct. The electronic sound is the wave, and the acoustic sound is the rippling of the wave catching the sparkle of light.

In track two
The eye and the ear turn elsewhere. The river becomes a mirror. Music becomes a mirror. It is not the pure soul that is mirrored. It is the melancholy soul that wants to turn memory into gold dust.

In track three
The river speaks of itself. Consciousness is discovered in multiple dimensions. One glides observing the river from above. Everything then changes. Emotion becomes awe, silence is created, warm wind. Sound wings, birds dwelling on the river. Sounds that enter the white clouds.

In track four
The mechanical repetition of acoustic sound tells us of the natural law that lives without interruption in its own mystery. In a sensory objectivity. Reverberations. Transparencies. Life is filtered. It is made poetically mechanical.

Projekt release: May 12, 2023

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  1. Reviews Editor

    From Exposé

    Projekt’s latest release by Aglaia (Gino Fioravanti) is this magical swirling epic, a heady and immersive mix of acoustic sounds, electronics, found sounds, and studio effects, effectively a double album (though it’s only available as a download) with one long track per side. If I would have had this when I was a teenager, I would have stayed home all day listening to it over and over and never gone to school; as it is, I just want to drown in these sounds. Each play reveals something new and mysterious, covering the listener like a warm blanket of shimmering moonlight. I can’t say I’ve heard a lot of Aglaia’s music, only Perennial Source that Projekt released in 2022, and several older collaborations with Alio Die (with whom Aglaia shares much in common, soundwise), but based on those alone, I’m set to go exploring the rest of his catalog, which contains around 60 releases since 2003.

    Along the Vast Ancient River is like the soundtrack to four parts of the same dream, where the sounds of rumbling and shimmering electronics mix freely with acoustic instruments like zither, hammered dulcimer, balofon, perhaps bowed strings as well, and the odd percussives — not to maintain a cadence, but to underscore and emphasize other sounds, and of course nearly all of this is treated to a vast swath of studio treatments that seem to affect the entire space which the sound exists within. The listener won’t notice the passage of time, as every moment seems to exist exclusively within its own world, reaching out in all directions at once, freeing the imagination to roam freely. “Sailing Clouds” opens the proceedings and establishes the currents and eddys that flow like a river throughout, which is then taken up by “The Left Bank of the River” that effortlessly flows in majestic beauty. “Autumn Drift” guides the listener along a serene path for 24 minutes until it fades to black, where “Birth of a Transparent Heart” starts and directs the remainder of this journey. For those who appreciate Alio Die, Jarguna, Lorenzo Montaná, or classic Popol Vuh, there is plenty here to hold a listener’s interest. -Peter Thelen

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