What does aus sound like?
Contemporary classical ambience with a layer of mystical experimentation.
The review of aus – Everis
FLAU record label boss aus takes about 30 seconds to let you know exactly why he has a keen ear for ambient and classical music. He is a gifted musician and sound engineer himself. With his new album ‘Everis’, he turns to some stems he has been using for an audio/visual installation because put simply, everything else had been stolen in a burglary. This sent aus on a musical quest. He became interested in forgotten or faded memories and that they exist everywhere. He couldn’t quite remember exactly all the music and sound that had been stolen from him either.
The album opens with the beautiful ‘Halsar Weiter’, a soft and soothing synth that twists and turns delicately. Starting out cool and refreshing, the track slowly becomes more mechanical and street-bound over its duration. Mechanical clinks and a general hubbub drifts in and out but you can’t quite place its origin. That ephemeral just-out-of-reach feeling permeates every nook of ‘Everis’. ‘Landia’ is a warm piece with ethereal chants, warm synths and a bouncy unassuming beat. It is like the music is climbing a hill towards a shrine or peace. Arise Yokote’s voice sounds young but also from the past, whereas the music is very contemporary. I felt like multiple timelines were passing me side by side. This idea moves into the eclectic glitch-jazz piano and tuned percussion of ‘Past From’. Here instrumental motifs are chopped up and then start to veer off-key, as if the music itself is trying to escape the music machine. Then serene strings and blissful vocals drift in to wash the tightened panic and dishevelment away. It’s such a clever track and shows how aus can evoke a lost nostalgia within you.
‘Steps’ is a zither-led ballad – initially. Gutevolk guest vocals in a track that then turns zither notes and string motifs into watery lightning bolts. It is as if the strings have been processed to sound like shards of light being fired across the speakers. The whole piece is dreamlike and tiny reversed noises and the stereo-panned zither oozes a gentile mood. In a total 180, ‘Makes Me Me’ is a late-night jazz smoulder. Grand Salvo guests in the sole English vocal over moody long-tail guitar, tick-tock drum programming and pondering piano. It sets the mood for a distant 2am jazz bar a few doors down vibe for not just this, but the hazy muses of ‘Flo’. For this track, it sounds like a vinyl field recording a jazz bar is slowly playing next door. ‘Swim’ follows this with an abstract slow-motion stutter of piano, beats and crackles.
The slow and experimental middle of the album is all about gearing you towards the closing quarter. ‘Memories’ is a lush trickle of piano, ambient voice and strings. Henning Schmeidt plays the piano throughout the album but lets his effortless flow state unravel here beautifully. The track is like a cavalcade of thoughts passing by which moulds into the symphonic ‘Further’. Here, the string arrangement allows Kumi Takahara’s skills to shine and the clarinet addition gives the track gravitas too. There is a lack of bass across much of the album as if the listener isn’t grounded. This is somewhat resolved in the final piece ‘Neanic’. Starting out as a tentative piano piece with ambient swirls, over its seven minutes a swell of strings pour in to create a whirlpool of emotions. aus doesn’t need to bring out the entire big bass here – the music sounds and feels full. It’s as if the memories have been filled in by the end and it is a satisfying, heartwarming finale.
‘Everis’ is a sensitive album – one that I found perfect for alone time. There is magic behind all the tiny audio decisions that aus has made to create something that points you somewhere rather than leads you by the hand directly. In many ways, I’m reminded of Bjork’s album Vespertine, because that takes a similar approach even if the medium is different. This is a beautiful album that fans of contemporary classical music should fall head over heels for. It is quite brilliant and lets your imagination run wild.
Recommended track: Landia
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