2. metamorphosis (12:52)
3. disorientation flow (15:47)
4. blistering (9:02)
5. the lament broke (13:30)
Limited Edition of 300
Serries’ second album on Projekt is a suitable follow-up to his warm and welcoming 2014 release, The Origin Reversal. More than a critically-acclaimed re-boot of his classic vidnaObmana sound, this is ambient music that flows from its discreet origins of sonic purity, washes of harmony, and languid textures. Unfurling with seductive deliberation and orchestrated with just a handful of effects and electric guitar, this album is again fully improvised and recorded in real-time.
Even more than on its predecessor, Disorientation Flow touches upon the introspective character of Serries’ musical language. String-like chords, subtle waves and dynamic warm drones are the sonic ingredients here, creating a soundtrack for the mind. Spiritually playing with notation of extended time and isolation, Serries has the ability to produce beautiful but simultaneously intense soundscapes which hold much more than just layering notes. It’s a musical language that speaks emotion, warmth, melancholy and subtlety.
Serries conveys an awareness of a serene approach to the act of musical creation, which is representative of the best of contemporary ambient music. These are moody and reflective compositions that retain a sense of ambient bliss as the flow subsides.
Praise for The Origin Reversal:
WXPN’s Chuck Van Zyl: Having traveled through an extensive and impressive diversity of specialized personas and landscapes under the names vidnaObmana, Fear Falls Burning, The Black Fire, Principle of Silence, 3 Seconds of Air and others, Serries has at this moment settled upon exploring the beautiful mystery and possibilities in his electric guitar’s expressive timbre. He knows how much it takes of each to create an interesting piece of music – in an emanation that reveals truths recounted only when the last echo has subsided.
Textura: The optimal way to experience the album is with the volume up, as doing so allows one to better appreciate the wave-like unfolding of the slow-burning material and the way its ripples overlap so hypnotically… Serries, abetted by decades of experience, demonstrates remarkable poise and mastery in the way he shapes the material in real-time.
Released: May 12 2015
Reviews Editor –
Dirk Serries: Disorientation Flow
Though Ronald Mariën (aka Stratosphere) and Dirk Serries earlier collaborated on the 2013 Projekt album In A Place of Mutual Understanding, these latest releases see the two artists operating separately. It makes sense that Disorientation Flow and Aftermath aren’t combined into a single, double-CD release, given their fundamental differences. That being said, both are strong collections that impress as a complementary pair.
Serries’ second solo album on Projekt follows in the footsteps of his 2014 release The Origin Reversal. In simplest terms, Disorientation Flow captures Serries in ambient-drone mode and using guitar to generate soundscapes of blissful and serene character; stated otherwise, anyone looking for material that’s abrasive and raw should look elsewhere. Characterized by languorous flow, Serries’ hypnotic settings drift gently as they direct the gaze heavenwards, their delicate tendrils and washes working in tandem to induce a state of becalmed entrancement in the receptive listener. And these five real-time improvisations—all but one extending beyond the twelve-minute mark—are literally Serries solo, as all of the album’s sixty-five minutes were produced by him using nothing more than an electric guitar and a handful of effects.
Of the five pieces, it’s the closing “The Lament Broke” that’s the most haunting and elegiac. Yet while the tracks are distinctly titled and indexed, Disorientation Flow really functions as a totality, especially when the general sound design persists from one introspective setting to the next. Without wishing to suggest that Serries has taken his cue from Robert Fripp for the two Projekt releases, it’s easy to draw parallels between Disorientation Flow and the live soundscapes recordings Fripp issued during the ‘90s (A Blessing of Tears, That Which Passes, The Gates of Paradise, et al.), especially when the two artists’ projects are so complementary, tonally speaking.
Like Serries’ release, Aftermath is the second album by Stratosphere to appear on Projekt, and Mariën likewise is responsible for all of the sounds on the hour-long release. But there are more differences than similarities between the two. For one, rather than being variations on a theme, the six tracks that constitute Aftermath are stylistically unlike one another, even if the differences are subtle. Secondly, melody is more pronounced on the Stratosphere set, plus the music is less retiring and more assertive. There’s an ambient-drone dimension in play for sure, but Mariën also works into the release elements of prog and post-rock.
That the albums are different is made clear from the outset when “Accepting the Aftermath” starts the recording with a dramatic elegy where mournful themes and e-bow textures intone against a shimmering backdrop. If the opener seems generally melancholy, “The Search for Normality” begins to feel almost buoyant by comparison when its crystalline guitar shadings and molten stabs inch ever so incrementally upwards, and there’s a snarl to the music that never arises on Disorientation Flow. Aftermath isn’t without its serene moments, however, as attested to by the hymnal opening minutes of “The Search for Normality (Reprise),” and a Fripp connection emerges here, too, specifically in the slow-burning guitar timbres that appear in “Endless Despair” and lend it a No Pussyfooting-like quality. A little bit of Steve Reich also seeps into “Confusion” in background chiming figures that echo the American composer’s Electric Counterpoint, and Mariën expands on the album’s guitar-centric sound by adding bass in a number of places, most noticeably in the searing closer “When You Think Everything is Alright.” If Aftermath covers a lot of ground in its sixty minutes, the variety on display only makes the result more appealing.
Richard Gurtler –
Dirk Serries, the Belgian giant behind vanished vidnaObmana, is back with another spectacular chapter of his intriguing guitar drone magic. Disorientation Flow album, which is out since May 2015, is a follow-up to his previous acclaimed Projekt release The Origin Reversal. Packaged in rather simple 4-panel eco wallet, exhibiting as usual immersing cover images taken by Dirk’s wife, Martina Verhoeven, who is renowned for her unique, mostly organic and abstract photographs, which can be found on many releases and collaborations by Dirk, under vidnaObmana or Fear Falls Burning aliases. As usual, graphic design is executed by Projekt’s Sam Rosenthal.
Nearly 14-minute “The Imperative Edge” unwraps in a truly grandiose way, although emerging silently, almost inconspicuously, stunningly gorgeous drone euphory permeates and cyclically floats and nuances on the wings of utterly majestic graciousness, while earmarking high-pitched reverberations persistently tickle the ears of each devoted journeyer. Dirk Serries fully utilizes his innate mastery in painting a jaw-droppingly intense elegiac evocativeness and delivers some of the most, prodigiously expressive compositions since closing the circle with vidnaObmana. Although I am familiar only with Dirk’s CD albums, not with his numerous “Streams Of Consciousness” vinyl releases, this must be together with “There’s A Light In Vein” one of the absolute pinnacles of his soundscaping escapades crafted under his real name. A true milestone resurrecting exquisitely memorable delights of vidnaObmana’s extensive existence. Harmoniously enrapturing splendor is back once more, this time reshaped through meticulously resonating real-time improvisations with electric guitar and various effects during the crepuscular autumn and winter days, bravo, Dirk!!! “Metamorphosis” clocks to quite similar length than its predecessor and again it tranquilly arises from enveloping stillness. Hauntingly meandering structure might be slightly less reminiscent, without mindscaping disruptive subtleties, yet intensified spiraling magnitudes clandestinely sneak in and infuse this isochronally kaleidoscaping scenario with extraordinarily full-bodied euphoniousness. Well, did I say not as much engrossing as “The Imperative Edge”? Towards the end of this sonorously bewitching dronescape I realize more and more this might be just my uncertain feel, because this is undoubtedly another splendiferous powerhouse!!! “Disorientation Flow”, the title track and also the longest one on this album, reaching almost 16-minute mark, languishingly emanates and counterpoints with poignant glimpses of silence. Then a milder tension persistently pervades across the evolving monolithic undulations, while shrilling traceries insistently glance on this harmoniously encircling wistfulness. “Blistering” keeps on the path of deeply profound scenic expanses, sinuously moving through lyrically warmhearted nostalgic evocations and dazzlingly coalesced with mesmerizingly ear-piercing reflections. With 9 minutes the shortest composition on the album, but certainly one of the most grandiose and thrillingly rewarding. A shimmering phenomenon of the legendary “The River Of Appearance” is reawaken, the legacy returns… It’s obvious that a true aural bliss awaits here!!! “The Lament Broke” delves into soothingly immersing terrains with calmly gliding and tiding surface with intangibly ephemeral climaxes. A rather meager texture gently closing this gloriously monumental, 65 minutes long performance.
As I have mentioned before, I will always miss vidnaObmana, that’s for sure, but with releases such as Disorientation Flow, I am grieving less and less. Thank you so much, Dirk, for your guitar drone manipulations par excellence!!! Disorientation Flow album is a must-have, I even won’t hesitate to call it another milestone in Dirk Serries’ prolific career of a soundexplorer!!! And since Disorientation Flow CD is available in limited edition of 300 copies, I wouldn’t wait too long with acquiring an own copy. And about the same time when “Disorientation Flow” was released on Projekt, Belgian label Consouling Sounds has published “Buoyant” CD, a collaborative project featuring Dirk Serries and Dutch soundsculptor Rutger Zuydervelt, who is known as Machinefabriek. And another two Dirk’s collaborations involve Japanese droneforgers, Hakobune and Chihei Hatakeyama. “Obscured By Beams Of Sorrow” CD with Hakobune is out since September 2015 on Japanese White Paddy Mountain label, while joint effort with Chihei Hatakeyama is entitled “The Storm Of Silence” and the CD is scheduled to be released during January 2016 on Italian label Glacial Movements. That’s a lot of serious reasons to keep an ear to the ground!!!
Richard Gürtler (Dec 06, 2015, Bratislava, Slovakia)
Reviews Editor –
From The Grim Tower
As a young teenager, I quite enjoyed the New Sound Of Goth in reference to the wonderful musical soundscapes that Projekt Records had been producing. I still can’t remember how it was that I found out about them, perhaps it was an (Aurelio) Voltaire record that lead me there, or maybe some browsing around on the internet, but I remember that I spent much of my hard-earned money purchasing more and more unique and interesting albums from the label. Sam Rosenthal has assured me that they now deal with more ambience and atmosphere than the Goth of days past, but I still found that kind of material quite fascinating even in those days. It was scarce, but Steve Roach and others had gently leaned me into it and it consumed most of my unconscious hours while enveloped in the landscape of dreams. I’m afraid I don’t know much about Dirk Serries, but the same goes for Steve Roach. I’m not sure what either look like, nor have I ever cared.
It does not matter the man behind the mood, which is exactly how I feel here with Disorientation Flow. There are no vocals to be found, no sound clips to be uttered and no lyrics to be grasped – the entire experience is cerebral, yet metaphysical. It almost feels ethereal in a sense, which is probably the closest description that I can give you. We start out with “The Imperative Edge 13:40” which begins with complete silence. That silence builds up slowly into a slight crescendo of sounds and colors that feel like they’ve broken off from another, much brighter realm than the one in which we currently reside. “Metamorphosis 12:52” starts out in much the same fashion, but feels very trancelike and somewhat ghostly. I feel as though the spirits are gathering around me during such a track (and I’ve now got confirmation that there is indeed an energy moving around here in the “dungeon” yet the sleeper claimed that it wasn’t malevolent, so I see no need for it to buzz off. Keeps me company at any rate) as I’m whisked off partway towards the astral plane. I feel the track is even more effective when placed directly into the ears, and that it’s effect is far more powerful on the mind when having done so. The title piece (15:47) lightly flows along with a sort of watery grace that tends to spin up into the clouds, making for a lively, yet profound experience. “Blistering 9:02” comes next, as it looms right into dreamscapes – I feel as though I’m flying through thousands of memories, each one blending into the another, congealing into a mass of experience and sound. One might wonder as to whether these are memories of my current existence, the ones that have passed or the ones that are still yet to come. The album ends with “The Lament Broke 13:30” which seems to end things on a slightly somber note, almost as if it’s lamenting the dead.
But perhaps with a sound as spiritual as this has been, it does seem like sort of a half celebratory/half mourning for those who have recently traversed beyond the realms of death. In any case, Disorientation Flow brings in a contemplative atmosphere in which one might ponder and think about what lies beyond and the topography that might exist in such an area. It feels “not of this world” as it ebbs and flows throughout the subconscious and washes out the skeletons from our closets with an impressive fury. Please be aware that if you listen to this album, you will indeed find yourself lost in thought. Nevertheless, I feel that contemplation and all-around thinking in general is something that a large majority of people just don’t do anymore. So sit down, relax your mind and be ready to face the flow. Rating: 8/10 -Eric May
Reviews Editor –
From The Digital Fix
Enthralling and engulfing, it is a delight to hear one of the genre’s masters return at last. Continuing his return to the gentle flowing soundscapes of his formative years, Disorientation Flow is another fine example of the wonder Dirk Serries can conjure. An easy, relaxing drift to the five pieces surround and embrace the listener, a shade of sadness heightening the warmth of the aural hug. Deliberately eschewing volatility, this is for the darkest moments of the night, an escape from reality.
Reviews Editor –
From Synth & Sequences
With the years, and especially with the kind collaboration of Projekt Records and of Spotted Peccary, I became clearly more open to the form of ambient music. I have learnt when to listen to it and how to hear it in order to finally enjoyed it, especially when the sleep taunts my tiredness. I so discovered a universe of perceptions where every detail enriched the peace of mind with slow movements which tuck the silence with such a sensibility that we eventually end to get lost in time. And it’s very exactly what happens with Disorientation Flow, a second opus about the forms of silence and meditation that Dirk Serries proposes via the American label Projekt Records. Nevertheless, Dirk Serries is not a newcomer. It’s a sound project parallel to the career of Vidna Obmana, the famous Belgian composer of ambient music who is as much prolific than Steve Roach. And it’s not a coincidence if both seem capable of creating symphonies out from the solitudes of the winds. I had precisely heard the music of Dirk Serries for the first time with his collaboration album with Steve Roach on Low Volume Music in 2012. The fusion between the tears of guitar and the morphic, the enveloping and the rather vampiric synth waves had fairly seduced me. Disorientation Flow is built upon the same ambient mirages. A little less black and less amorphous than Steve Roach’s Immersion series, it’s nevertheless a deep ambient work, an almost silent one, where every piece of sound is brood by a surprising sonic presence. Totally improvised and recorded in real time, Disorientation Flow is presented in 5 long morphic chapters where Serries establishes a kind of meditative communion between a solitary author and his numerous fans who only dream about a solitude shared with the company of others.
Purple shadows, where the imagination dreams about groans of guitar which flatter the morphic delicacy of the synth lines of which the slow flights are haloed by the singings of astral nymphs, squeak over the brief serenity in the opening of “The Imperative Edge”. The tones are lively and are sparkling. They shine of an aura dirtied by the deep scarlet moods of an introduction where the peace of mind bickers with the iridescence of a huge sound magma which threatens every second of pierce the walls of oblivion. A bassline a bit idle spreads slow eddies of which the larva draw the delicate movements of a passion full of restraint. Between the peace and the passive agitation, the ambiences raise themselves in an opaque monument which little by little unfolds a crescendo of emotionalism where the colors, rather lively at times, of the sounds tame the quiescence of a silence torn by an avalanche of strata in tints as rich as their forms. “Metamorphosis” gets loose from this purple envelope with a thick cloud of drones, of hoarse breezes which pierce the remaining shadows of “The Imperative Edge.” The communion is intense because the shadows float like tears in suspension while Dirk Serries multiplies the effects of reverberations, forging a compact mass of ambient sounds which shows all of its sibylline nuances. This mixture of guitar tears, of synth sighs and of half-silent voices is the backdrop of an intensely meditative work where Dirk Serries takes good care to play with his shades. There are small pebbles of Structures from Silence which float throughout this ode to a darker but also more harmonious silence. And it’s even more convincing with the title-track which is the most seraphic of Disorientation Flow. “Blistering” brings us to another level of contemplativity with a very dark introduction. Little by little the colors of the silence, these sobs in the tears of a very intrusive six-strings, come to haunt the darkness of “Blistering” which renews with passive spectral melodies of “Disorientation Flow”. We reach a point where the time loses its dens and where our spirit confuses the silence and the sounds when “The Lament Broke” spreads a nice thin line of musicality, always very astral, on the silence of the shadows which little by little has tamed this soft rebellion against the calming of our inner senses. -Sylvain Lupari
Reviews Editor –
Sculpted in real time out of processed guitar, the five tracks that make up Dirk Serries’ Disorientation Flow are rich and warm, waves in constant ebb and flow. Serries’ time-slowing style, coaxing notes and emotion patiently out of his instrument, creates an overall atmosphere that almost demands low-volume looping, but break out the headphones first. Up close, you can peer into the way he lays down strands of sound and weaves them together. Then, take the buds out of your ears and play it at higher volume to get a nice tactile hit from the resonance of the guitar layers. Although it’s quite like classic rise-and-fall ambient there’s a distinct, drawn-out sense of melody and harmony at work, combine that with a sort of minimalist structure of repeated phrases that slowly shift over time.
These five mid-length tracks, covering just over an hour, don’t vary much in approach or construct, but the sameness never becomes a concern because they’re all so immersive and rich. If it wasn’t for the pause between tracks, you’d never really feel the shift–and that’s not a bad thing. In fact, the quiet between songs becomes a listening moment itself, waiting for the next notes to rise and form. This is a release to put on loop and just let it go for several hours, maybe a day…two… It’s deceptively simple sounding on the surface, but as you go deeper into it, it gives up its sonic truths and shows a lot of thought, heart, and soul. Superb work from Serries, as always.
Reviews Editor –
From Gonzo Circus
Zijn lange val inwaards zet zich verder, maar dat maakt Dirk Serries niet minder productief. Deze gelimiteerde (300 exemplaren) cd bouwt voort op de principes van The Origin Reversal uit 2014. Zoals die titel aangeeft, recreëerde Serries zijn ambient vidnaObmana sound uit de jaren 90 met nieuwe bronnen. Steeds minder bronnen, trouwens: één gitaar en enkele effectenpedalen volstonden om de oefening zeer geslaagd te maken.
Ook Disorientation Flow maakt ons tegelijk nederig en ijl in het hoofd. Melancholie en introspectie overheersen, terwijl we plat op onze rug liggen en door een dakvenster naar de staalblauwe lucht staren. We hopen in stilte dat er een losgeraakte vliegtuigmotor op ons hoofd zal neerstorten, maar dat geluk wordt ons natuurlijk weer niet gegund. Het is al jaren een sterk punt van Serries dat hij zijn composities sfeermatig kan parkeren op een scherp punt tussen troost en traan, of tussen drone en boventoon, maar op deze CD excelleert hij. Voor al wie met neergeslagen ogen naar de hemel wil staren, en afvalligen die al twee decennia de karakteristieke vidnaObmana sound missen, is Disorientation Flow een absolute aanrader.
Reviews Editor –
From Ambient Blog
If you limit your search to just Dirk Serries, you’ll find only a handful of album releases, but add one of his many aliases (Fear Falls Burning, VidnaObmana, Continuum, Microphonics, Stream of Consciousness, Yodok III) and his discography expands to frightening proportions.
Disorientation Flow presents Serries in his most basic form: fully improvised and recorded in real-time with an electric guitar and just a handful of effects. It “touches upon the introspective character of Serries’ musical language. String-like chords, subtle waves and dynamic warm drones are the sonic ingredients, playing with notation of extended time and isolation.”
Reviews Editor –
From Sequenzer Welten
…. was man so alles mit Gitarre und Effekten machen kann ….. ein sehr interessantes Album, welches vielleicht nicht ganz einfach zu konsomieren ist, aber der Beweis dafür ist, wie verschieden und vielfältig es in der elektronischen Musik-Welt zugeht!
Es lässt sich auch mit einem minimalistischem Einsatz von Instrumenten, bzw. Geräten in sehr tiefe Sphären vordringen. Dirk Serries, vielleicht vielen mehr unter seinem Pseudonym Vidna Obmana bekannt, scheint auf diesem Gebiet ein wahrer Spezialist zu sein. Seine Soundlandschaften sind oftmals recht abstrakt, können aber durchaus einen sehr harmonischen Eindruck hinterlassen.
Wie hier auf der Disorientation Flow …. wo sicherlich nicht allzuviel passiert, aber die Drone-ähnlichen Strukturen doch eine gewisse Entspannung auslösen können. Wie gesagt: die Musik ist nicht ganz einfach, hat aber durchaus ihren Reiz! -Uwe Sasse