(New Album Review) Aires, Earthly Beasts, and Rui P. Andrade [Split EP]

This particularly excellent reader submission comes from Portugal: a split EP from Aires, Earthly Beasts, and Rui P. Andrade. All three artists work mostly with drones and field recordings. Rui P. Andrade is an alumni of a black metal group named Ecos. So right here, we have another interesting snapshot of a music scene from an exotic location– I could hardly wait to begin studying.

Aires sets the dark tone of the EP with the unsettlingly inorganic atmosphere of “Soviet Cosmos in Favilla”. This piece is all robotic, warped voices and softly chattering radios competing for space over the background of a wavering, very slowly-shifting drone. I’m reminded somewhat of SleepResearch_Facility’s Stealth. Aires’s style, ever-so-slightly dissonant tones on the synths and distinctly machine-like sounds in the background, make for very engrossing listening. The tension that builds up in his pieces really sucks one in.

However, Rui P. Andrade’s shadowy, ebbing “Turdus Merula” is the high point of the EP for me. Perhaps Rui’s willingness to use his real name betrays his status as the most experienced of the three artists, but I would also say that his music does as well. “Turdus Merula”, the longest piece of the three, is everything I like about dark ambient and drone– layer after layer of velvety murmurs, rumblings, and distant, murky chimes rolling over each other, slowly dissolving into an gradually-increasingly harsh attack of white noise. I strongly appreciated the mixture of guitars and analog synths on Andrade’s work, and I urge you to check out his 2012 release Vessels.

The contribution from Earthly Beasts, “Erebus”, is the most rhythmic piece out of the three. It is percussive dark ambient that reminded me a little bit of The Haxan Cloak and Emptyset. The ominous, throbbing energy of this piece makes it a worthy closer, and moreover also gives me the impression that Earthly Beasts is probably a hell of a live act– I like the creepy, ritualistic atmosphere that this kind of music can create.

Though I could not find a bandcamp page for Earthly Beasts, both Aires and Rui P. Andrade have offered their music at name-your-price on their bandcamp pages. Give back to underground artists like this and give them all the listens and thank-you donations you can afford. Take care and hope you enjoy this.

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