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ARASTOO & AEMAE - Ostrakon

Format: LP
Label & Cat.Number: Isounderscore [ISO_05]
Release Year: 2008
Note: lim. 320 copies
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €14.50

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"Two side-long ice sculptures built on piano and processing, the piano coming strictly from Arastoo Darakhshan, while both add their effects but Brandon Nickell as Aemae delivers digital doctoring as his primary outlet. The title track is a wonderful splintering of sound, with glacier cracking in on the stark black and white keys. Aemaes timing with noisier nuance is excellent on this, and he has at least one treatment like a frozen train going off the tracks! Here the sum decimates the parts, Arastoos delicate hesitance almost dances around a ghost of Clara Rockmore. A very open piece with rays of mourning and crystal shards of electronics, it captures that ever-important balance of order and chaos. If the first piece is Nickell plating Darakhshan, then perhaps the second is a reverse, with a layer of Aemae cast out and the piano imposed on top? Just a guess, maybe Im too concerned without tallying yin and yang. The first piece really is a stunner with a fascinating name that wiki shows as the derivation for ostracism. Yeah, this is outsider music but I suspect readily acceptable to many ears, of course we too at KFJC have been happily exiled beneath main street for decades of decadence. Limited release on Nickells own label."
[Thurston Hunger / KFJC]

"A long in the works collaboration from two aQ favorites, Aemae and Arastoo. We've listed both Aemae releases, but Arastoo has been a bit more elusive, with tons of super limited vinyl and cd-r releases, of which we've only ever managed to review 3. Well, the two have come together, to produce this, the first in a new salvo of Bay Area sound art from Aemae, aka Brandon Nickell's Isounderscore label. And a pretty fantastic start. Arastoo plays the piano, and then the two shape and mold the piano into two side long pieces, both quite impressive.
The A side is mostly straight piano all the way through, some gorgeous fluid playing, some stunning arrangements, but the two subtly shape and twist throughout, adding mysterious little music box flourishes, sudden squalls of super high end skree, but those moments are actually quite controlled, the sounds sculpted onto dog whistle melodies, and haunting upper register textures. The subtle production tweaks really only augment, creating complimentary sounds, or add bits of ambience, allowing the piano to drift and sway and unfurl its melody, seemingly oblivious to what's going on around it.
The B side however, finds the sound of the piano obliterated, transformed completely into long shimmering streaks of layered metallic reverberation, a bit industrial sounding, layers of constantly shifting whir and rumble and hiss and roar, like a choppy sonic sea, building to a buzzing crescendo before settling back down into a tranquil sea of black ambience, as the piano returns, unfurling gentle, yet ominous minor key melodies, all very creepy and cinematic, but also quite lovely. LIMITED TO 320 COPIES. Super striking silkscreened covers, with original artwork by Arastoo." [Aquarius Records]