Month: June 2018

CHAIN DLK reviews THE TRILOGY

“5 stars ! After his initial release oriented towards industrial music, Dirk Serries began to define his perculiar vison of ambient music. This reissue collects the first three movements of this journey: “Passage in Beauty”, “Shadowing in Sorrow” and “Ending Mirage” which were long out of print. Even if they were already collected a single release, each one has a distinctive quality which made it a step in a process of discovering the art of Vidna Obmana.
The first one, “Passage in Beauty”, is centered upon “Awaken in Floating Colours” which is presented in three compositions and it’s the most drone centered and perhaps has the slower development even it’s the brighter of all three e.g., the resonances of a track like “Mood in Pears” doesn’t almost appear in the other chapters of this trilogy. “Shadowing in Sorrow” is a darker and sharper release starting with a track like “One Charming Delight” which immediately marks a change of direction towards a more drier sound even if the form is similar and this create a sense of blurring of the sound spectrum. “Ending Mirage” closes this trilogy with a process of rarefaction of sound which few similarities even with other Serries’ opus, so while the other chapter and especially the first where practically based on a fullness of the spectrum which enchanted the listener, this one begin to use silence as a pillar of his sound, so this was a true development of the form marked by the impressive dynamics of a track like “Luxurious Fragment (in Two Parts)” which requires a particular commitment of the listener to catch all the small nuances of the sound which border lowercase music which will be formalized years later.
This are true masterpieces which have written a piece of history of ambient music so it’s an essential release for those who haven’t this albums in their collection. Absolutely recommended. ” Chain D.L.K. – USA

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Dark Entries reviews THE TRILOGY

“9 out of 10 rating !!

Dirk Serries is een man die in onze reviewsectie erg vaak de revue passeert. We leerden de man uiteraard kennen via het legendarische Vidna Obmana, waarvan onlangs bij Zoharum het terugblikkende ‘The Trilogy’ heruitgegeven werd.

Maar laat ons beginnen bij het begin…

De eerste releases onder de Vidna Obmana moniker verschenen halverwege de jaren 80 en werden gekenmerkt door zeer rauwe industrial geluiden. Bij het begin van het volgende decennium besloot Serries het roer om te gooien en zich te richten op rustgevende ambient klanken met subtiele ethnische ondertonen.

Een slimme zet, zo bleek, want met de eerste drie albums in deze nieuwe stijl (Passage In Beauty (1991), Shadowing In Sorrow (1992) en Ending Mirage (1993) werd zijn bekendheid er alleen maar groter op.

Het Amerikaanse label Relic bracht deze drie sleutelalbums in het werk van Vidna Obmana drie jaar later in een driedubbele cd box samen uit.

Exact hetzelfde dus als wat Zoharum, bijna 25 jaar na datum na het verschijnen van het laatste deel uit deze trilogie, heden ten dage doet.

Verrassend genoeg geen extra tracks, wat bij heruitgaves toch meestal het geval is. De enige extra is dat de nummers op deze nieuwe Trilogy versie een nieuwe grafische vormgeving kregen en het geluid door Series voor de gelegenheid opnieuw geremastered is.

Komt ook nog eens bij dat zowel de afzonderlijke albums die deze trilogie uitmaken, als de eerder verschenen verzamelbox lang onbeschikbaar waren, of indien wel te koop, hoge prijzen bereikte op veilingsites. Gelukkig denkt Zoharum dus ook aan uw portemonnee, en heeft er samen met Hybryds weer een paradepaard van eigen bodem bij.

Over Hybryds gesproken: op het afsluitende nummer (een vocal reprise van het nummer ‘Mellow At Heart’) van Ending Mirage (en dus ook van deze The Trilogy) horen we Yasnaïa (in die tijd actief aan de zijde van Magthea) nog eens haar schitterende zelve wezen.

U herinnert zich misschien ook nog de cd Soundtrack Voor Het Aquarium, die Vidna Obmana en Hybryds samen maakten, en die nonstop afgespeeld werd in het aquarium van de Antwerpse Zoo, begin jaren 90?

The Trilogy is goed voor meer dan 3 uur zeer rustgevende ambient, met lichte ethnische invloeden en hier en daar een ondertoon die niet van de nodige dreiging gespaard is gebleven, om het geheel opwindend te blijven houden, en dit verspreid over een totaal van 20 tracks.

Hoewel deze nummers uitblinken in wat wij als schoonheid bestempelen, zijn ze echter ontstaan door een gevoel van ontevredenheid…. Het hoe en waarom hiervan kan je netjes nalezen in de zeer uitgebreide liner notes die deze driedubbelaar vergezelen. Verder schrijft Tobias Fischer er ook over de ontmoeting tussen Serries en Magthea, Radio Centraal, en het feit dat Antwerpen in die periode een van Europa’s meest opwindende plekken was voor compromisloze elektronische muziek.” Dark Entries – Belgium

VITAL WEEKLY reviews

DIRK SERRIES – EPITAPH (2CD by Consouling Sounds)
DIRK SERRIES & COLIN WEBSTER – GARGOYLES (CD by Raw Tonk Records)

“While the title ‘Epitaph’ suggests something else, Dirk Serries says goodbye to ambient, but only for now. On the cover he writes that he has been producing ‘vintage ambient’ (his words) for thirty years and that was as Vidna Obmana when he used synthesizers, and with a guitar as Fear Falls Burning and later on under his given name, but it’s time to move on new challenges. Perhaps a bit odd, me think, that he says on the cover “Epitaph is therefore my finest collection of ambient pieces to date”.
The word ‘therefore’ seems a bit odd, and also to say this is the finest could mean the rest of his previous, vast output isn’t as good? Armed with a guitar and sound effects and playing it lived, going straight into the computer. Ten pieces, spanning some ninety minutes of music and Serries delivers what he can do so well, indeed for thirty years. Long sustaining pieces of guitar music, which could just as easily pass on as something played on a synthesizer. And sometimes it sounds indeed very much like a guitar indeed, such as in ‘Formations Of Grace’. Serries waves together long form tones and it moves glacier like around. Slow and massive. Is this the finest collection to date of his ambient
music? I find that very hard to say. Over the years I heard a lot of music by Vidna Obmana, even when it was still hard-core noise in the mid 80s, and also quite some Fear Falls Burning, yet not all of it, so who am I to tell if this is the finest? It is however a very solid work, with Serries knowing exactly what he does and he does that very well, but he has been delivering consistent high quality ambient for many years. He leaves (if he leaves at all, of course) ambient on a very high note.

So what is Serries going to do? That is a bit of a rhetorical question as we already know that since a couple of years he’s also into producing improvised music (see also Vital Weekly 1110 and 1101 for more work in that direction) and one of the persons he regularly plays with is Colin Webster, who handles alto and baritone saxophones. On June 11th 2017 the two of the met up in a studio in London and recorded the seventeen pieces on ‘Gargoyles’. That may sound like a lot of music, but it all happens within the space of twenty-seven minutes. The shortest is 1:01 and the longest 2:20; that is almost punk rock like, and while some of this is certainly chaotic and strange, I don’t think the two set out to create something wild necessarily. It is more about to create something full energy within a very limited time span. There is something Zen like about it. A controlled burst of energy if you will and once that is done, it is time for the next one. The level of control is also to be found within the use of the instruments. Both are recognizable as guitar (without many effects, I would think) and the saxophones,
but especially Serries doesn’t play his teacher ever told him (assuming he had a teacher of course).  Scratching, plucking and hitting, mainly on the fret board, while Webster plays mostly short notes, fierce and loud, or introspective and spacious. Everything is recorded in a very direct way, which makes that the music is very much in your face, but that is what makes this also quite enjoyable. This is overall an excellent improvisation duet.” Vital Weekly – The Netherlands