Dark Aether Project, The - The Dark Aether Project

Year of Release: 1998
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: DAP1
Format: CD
Total Time: 44:56:00

The Dark Aether Project is Adam Levin on stick and loops, Yaman Aksu on guitar, and Brian Griffin on drums. And now Ray Weston on vocals, though that was after this disk's release. Vocals here are by Jason Wilson of Emerald Tiers.

One of the best tracks on this self-titled disk isn't listed or named - it's a mix of styles and tones - one passage a bit avant-garde/experimental, the next a bit jazzy, with a trumpet sound right out of Herb Alpert's palette. This jazzy feel doesn't change, but shifts gears to a very swank 50's style, missing only maybe Sinatra or Bennett crooning. Aksu's rough edged guitar here reminds you that we are in the 90s, as it shifts into modern jazz (Scofield, maybe). Levin's playing here is sultry, without being coy or cloying, Griffins drumming is rhythmic, with just the right amount of control and restraint.

It's such a shame then that the album gets off to a shaky start, with the mostly bad "Drive Time." The guitars here are off ... with a very warped sound, which I didn't find very pleasing. "Out Of My Head" gets a bit better, but the guitar here still has a very unpleasant sound in the higher ranges. The lyrics here are somewhat whimsical, in a Kevin Gilbert kinda way. (Eerily enough, Wilson's vocal qualities have Gilbertian overtones).

From track three on, things get much, much better. "Dark Aether" is appropriately atmospheric, very dark, though with just enough light to keep it from being pitch black. There's something in the shadows that seem to be shifting.

"Zenne" has a middle-eastern feel about it, mostly due to the guitar. Here the tone colors are the same as the first two tracks, but not nearly as off putting. There is more of a context for them. Here Dark Aether Project may remind of early Djam Karet.

On "In Memory of...", Aksu's guitar shimmers, and DAP sound very much like a neo-progressive band ... closer to Tristan Park, including the use of brass to add colouring. Wilson isn't in great voice here, but its servicable. Oddly, its the guitar lines that hold the interest here. Proving that, given the right setting, Aksu's prefered tones sound spot on.

"Heaven's Descent" is a Steve Roach like atmospheric wash - sound slowly undulates in and out, as it slowly swirls. Like large wings flapping in slow motion through a darkened sky - volcanos erupt silently, spewing out ash, as the Earth below is aflame. Armageddon has come.

The last listed track, "Bitter Harvest" is an acoustic guitar track, and here Aksu has a wonderful tone. The notes are clear and warm, evoking the colours of fall. Electric guitar soon comes in the sound of crashing thunder, creating a sharper, chillier soundscape - clouds form when cold and hot air mix, so I find this a very appropriate, if unintentionial, juxtaposition.

Aside from the first two tracks, this is a solid and varied release, and is recommended.

Drive Time (4:06) / Out of My head (4:08) / Dark Aether (5:58) / Zenne (4:07) / In Memory of... (2:57) / Heaven's Decent (6:51) / Bitter Harvest (5:30) / Track 8 (11:19)

Adam Levin - stick and loops
Yaman Aksu - guitar
Brian Griffin - percussion
Jason Wilson - vocals

Dark Aether Project (1998)
Feed The Silence (1999)
The Gentle Art Of Firewalking (2002)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: August 1st 1999
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.darkaether.net
Hits: 1183
Language: english


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