When people say ‘simplicity is key’, is it because, by virtue of just being simple, something resonates with the widest range of people? This is the principle of the ‘lowest common denominator’, which traditionally has derogatory implications but which can, on occasion, simply refer to something that is so primal, so essential, that it speaks to the hidden depths of every sane man, woman, and child. Ritual ambient act Paleowolf‘s first formal release, Primordial, resonates in such a way.
Hailing from the southern Slavic land of Serbia, Paleowolf is driven by one focussed and competent mastermind—a man who has quite clearly thought through the entire theme and presentation of his project, not just the audial component. Indeed, the visuals—which comprise of untouched forests and deeply archaic symbols—were what piqued my interest enough to explore the music, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. When music is as purposeful as this, I demand that its creator give attention to the whole presentation.
Musically, Primordial is about as bombastic as Dark Ambient can get as a minimal genre; there are no periods of drawn-out, barely audible ambience, but rather a continuous stream of shamanic rhythms, choral swells (which somehow sound inhuman), primitive instruments, and rumbling horns, all peppered with the sounds of nature: rain, thunder, birds, and more. The four tracks flow together nicely and develop to create an effective journey through the most ancient forested landscapes. The percussion feels organic enough to be real and the production in general is masterful: deep, resonant, and tribal. It would surprise me to discover that the sole composer, known only as A.W., has no pedigree.
Dark Ambient music rarely captures me, and that is due to my personal need for deliberation in music. Paleowolf succeeds in balancing the necessary looseness required to create a truly authentic, expansive, ambient freedom, whilst maintaining at all times a handcrafted focus which makes this an EP that can do more than merely supplement other activities such as reading or meditating. Expertly chosen chord progressions somehow don’t sound as though they belong to any musical scale, yet they must. Primordial is both deeply human and inhuman at the same time, and this fact highlights just how ancient a world is channelled within its compositions—a way of life so human as to be alien when set beside our modern desire for transcending the human condition.
Primordial, however, isn’t as relaxing as it should be. It has a sense of urgency, as though speaking for an ancient way of life which knows of its coming decline; a feeling of power, yet of vulnerability and sorrow. There is perhaps no greater escapism for anyone or anything than to return to its most natural state. Primordial gifts us this.
02) Global Migrations