Welcome to one of the most feared, deserted and beautiful places on Earth: Antartica. French photographer and researcher Dominique Filippi often needs to go there, as if he could hear it calling his name, viscerally, deeply. And, besides showing incredible images of those terrifying though magnificent lands of ice, he also records every sound he can get. On such an artistic and original basis, Sōzu Project (aka Paolo Mascolini) tended to create new sounds for his latest album. And, while trying to do it, he understood that he needed to reinvent his way of composing, start it over, to make it shine through moving and cold tones.
Going far beyond the worrying and redemptory blackness of his previous album (Requiem, 2013), Paolo Mascolini redefines ambient music and its true meaning, while trying something new. From aerial and sidereal monotonous chants in Terra Australis Nondum Cognita and Metamorphism to delicate keyboards in Flight 901 and Katabatic Wind, the composer exposes never-heard-before tunes. Precisely exploring each sound and noise with obsessive care, he is cutting, carving, spreading all moods with conciseness and brilliance. But, above all, he literally wraps around all the atmospheres recorded by Dominique Filippi (insides of a Boeing 777, wind, engine of a steamer boat), and illustrates them through symbiotic waves. He gives birth to all of them with clever and sweet attire. And, as the photographer is taking risks, so does Sōzu Project by creating amazing electro loops (Last Beats, Metamorphism). Such a unique, timeless and water language exhibits its inner power with the major and magnificent last track Terra Australis Reliquendum, a 15-minutes-long overwhelming and straight music (especially thanks to sudden piano and electric guitar), in which the sound jeweler lets his talent show his multiple faces.
This white, eternal, unlimited set then begins to move. One travels through lands mankind has never crossed, ran and made dirty before, austral territories where many explorers have disappeared through the years. The ice, dense and far away from the horizon, begins to crack and scatter. And, from the surface, one is suddenly sucked up under it, and discovers a fascinating underwater world. One touches the frozen crust, contemplates salt-filtered lights as particles seem to float all around, in coldness and beauty. One feels alone in front of such an immaculate nature which has given birth to the Earth, as the frost becomes a source of comfort and peace while going through one’s useless wetsuit, skin and flesh, freezing blood and brain cells. But all of this quietly happens. And, back to the surface while listening to Terra Australis’ last soundwaves, a second birth is given to every human being, who is then forever moved and changed by the existential ordeal one has gone through.
This album is an incomparable and wonderful ambient masterpiece, sometimes warm, sometimes cold. Scandinavian world of the Icy Gods, Jötunheim, has finally found an artistic way of talking through music. One then has to listen to it and watch Dominique Filippi‘s pictures at the same time to dive deeper into such an emotional experience.