Reviews for fans of contemporary instrumental music
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Solyaris - Western Detunes - Giorgio Robino (2005)

The debut album of Giorgio Robino recording under the moniker Solyaris is Western Detunes, a meditative journey created on treated lap steel and electric guitars and utilising "symphonic hyper-overdubbing". Unfortunately for me as a reviewer it falls into the category of intriguing but hard to describe music. The closest, but fairly tenuous, points of comparison are sonically to the opening track of Pure by Boddy/Reuter, and stylistically to Jeff Pearce's To The Shores of Heaven.

Over the course of eight tracks ranging between three and half to over fourteen minutes we are taken to a world of half light, of half glimpsed or imagined sights and thoughts - a twilight world between humans and angels. The steely pointed tones of the guitars blend, weave, and interleave in different combinations on each of the tracks, conveying a feeling of mysteries that are only partially revealed.

The first track "Night's Waltzloop" is a gentle introduction to the album's magical touch. Sliding guitar "wah" sounds echo away like fading desires only to be replaced by others; and strummed metallic notes create a sense of rhythm. Further into the album the second longest track "Abracadabra" keeps up the usual mid-tempo pace, here notes bounce between the speakers while others are plucked and ripple off into the distance. The most "normally" ambient piece is arguably "American Stagnation" on which gently bulging drones are accompanied by ghostly caressing "wahs" varying in pitch and intensity.

It was the longest track "Floating on the Sea Surface" that made me think of To The Shores of Heaven. On this nearly fifteen minute long track all the usual elements we've encountered so far on Western Detunes are there. The main difference is that some of the refrains become more insistent and stretched out, it's like looking out across a sea that is becoming choppy yet is surprisingly not scarey.

I can definitely state that Western Detunes is a unique ambient album. I'm impressed with how Giorgio has created hypnotic and spine tingling sounds that take one's mind to other realms. My only criticism is that it can become overwhelming after a while, and that repeated listens are needed to differentiate the tracks.