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Irezumi: Endurance

The official press release from Snowblood states: "Quite possibly the best ambient artist of his generation, 21 years old, IREZUMI has created this timeless and beautiful soundtrack inspired by Ernest Shackleton's tragic Antarctic expedition. Through warm electronic sounds and beautiful sad melodies IREZUMI tells us a story of a ship trapped in the ice and incredible human endurance."

Yes, "possibly the best ambient artist..." might raise some eyebrows, but don't overlook the bit that emphasizes "his generation." Based in France, the fresh-faced Irezumi (a pseudonym) is certifiably an ambient adept, but more lurks within (t)his sonic wilderness that brings Endurance nearer the soundtrack realm. The contemplativeness lent by the ten untitled abstractions matches the album's timbral densities. Rarely does a young artist assemble such a mature-sounding musical statement, but this recording is quite an asset to the [dark] ambient genre.

Apparently formerly? a techno/house artist, one will be hard-pressed to find qualities of Irezumi's previous work here. On the first track, resonant bass throbs and a ghastly blowing wind preface an acoustic guitar line that conveys the sense of desolation any wasteland be it snow, sand or concrete brings with it. The second piece is more in line with the genre, spelling out a whitewashed vacuum with grainy slabs of sound. Track Three approximates "ebb & flow" with a duotimbral loop and a phantasmal wail that evokes a siren wail morphed via the natural architecture of jagged snow-laden mountainsides.

A cycled, down-transposed bell sample (echoed to hell and back) "rings in" Track Four, and the up-mixed dialogue excerpts are somewhat jarring. A brief sequencer phrase finishes things off. The next track reintroduces a restorative dead calm, and is very soothing (think of the head-clearing stretches on Vangelis' The City). Tracks Six and Seven are sweeping in their intent with huge washes of sound, overlapping like strata, the smoothing layers pock-marked by zig-zagging notes attempting vainly to etch a skeletal melody. The final trio of tracks comprise the three-stage finale to this doomed excursion, further deepening the core textures to realize the expedition's fateful descent into the ether.

On its own merit as a potent foray into ambient-electronic minimalism, Irezumi's Endurance stands an excellent chance of joining the likes of Tangerine Dream's Rubycon and Steve Roach's Structures From Silence. Mention must be made of the stunning six-paneled digipak, i.e. the exquisite black and white photography exhibited on it. Liner notes are kept to a bare minimum which give the format all the zip of a gatefold LP with great art. Not only does it sound great, it displays great on the shelf.


1. Untitled (8:06)
2. Untitled (5:53)
3. Untitled (8:37)
4. Untitled (4:47)
5. Untitled (5:11)
6. Untitled (5:36)
7. Untitled (5:16)
8. Untitled (5:41)
9. Untitled (7:38)
10. Untitled (9:51)

Total time 66:43

Added: March 26th 2008
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: Snowblood Records
Hits: 7112
Language: english

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