Sunmoon – Nightsky EP

01/05/2010 § Leave a comment

Artist: Sunmoon
Title: Nightsky EP
Label: Essentia Mundi
Genre: Dark Ambient/Minimal

Track Listing:

01 Nightsky I
02 Nightsky II
03 Nightsky III
04 Nightsky IV

The opportunity of euphonising the sky at night is a challenge all too tempting to many of those working within dark ambient. Sunmoon is the one-man project of Sorin Paun, a lonely-sounding Romanian who likes to spend his time experimenting with sound swatches in order to represent organic and mechanic instrumentations. Nightsky is very much its namesake: it is Paun’s homage to, or translation of, the feel of night-time; focusing not necessary on the dour, sinister or unsettling elements often attached to it, but the wonderment of its creative force, of space, of starlight and of power. Paun is intent on picking out his observations from these elements and plotting them on a musical state. But Nightsky is not necessarily a journey but a level representation, a worked canvas on which all the elements can be seen but with little to be discovered. There are no layers, purely depth.

The artwork to the package is pretty unsurprising, depicting nothing but a starlit evening, but I almost admire its frankness. Sometimes it’s actually easier for bands to attempt to convey their music through clever icons and images rather than being plain, but just having a nightscene as the album’s image is oddly refreshing and familiar. Out of all the CDs that came with the last HH media pack, Nightsky stood out visually because it was so relateable. I’m getting sick of watercoloured symbols, rubbishy Photoshopped artwork, forested clichés and nondescript drawings by talentless “misunderstood” artists. There’s something honest about the visual side of this disc, and Sunmoon travelled up a notch in my estimation before I had heard the first click.

And click it does. Nightsky is really divided into two parts. The first has more of a dark ambient feel to it and the second travels further into mild glitch and IDM territory. Clearly this is an influence and crossover from Paun’s other multifarious musical projects, but its done in a toned-down and suitably abstract way so that it still feels appropriate to the album’s message. Nightsky booms with deep dark ambient drones, clatters with mechanical glitches and gabbles with indecipherable sampled speech way in the distance. The marriage of industry employed is splayed out sufficiently enough so as not to busy the listeners but give them enough time to appreciate whatever’s going on, and there is rather a lot in the whole 40 minute EP. Nightsky clearly takes its influence from bands like Lustmord and Shinjuku Thief while giving them a lighter and less viscous coating.

Make no mistake though, Nightsky is hardly meant to make you feel as if you’re traversing the boundaries of the Oort cloud or revelling in the crushing intensity of exploding nebulae. More than anything it’s Paun’s understanding of the night sky, his associations and rendering of it. It is mostly an inactive and uninteresting EP, being not so much a work of communication but an experiment in personal understanding. It is not a grand or enveloping piece of ambience but a linear presentation of one man’s perception. If you enjoy the repeated throb of Where The Back Stars Hang or the airy washes of Biosphere you may find something of merit in Sunmoon. But with ostensibly little on offer but gesture drone samples and IDM clicking, I can’t help feeling that the only person this is of true value to is Paun himself.

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