Ariadne is a sacred music duo from Brooklyn, New York comprised of Christine Lanx and Benjamin Forest, two graduates of Indiana University’s esteemed school of music. With a focus on interspersing the ritualism of ancient spirituality and the secular iconography of the post-modern, Ariadne flawlessly bridge the two worlds through their intricate musical compositions, striking digital visuals, and captivating live performances.
Tsalal, which is Hebrew for the concept “to grow or become dark,” is the title of the brand new six-track album (and first physical release ever) from Ariadne. It is a full-frequency, multi-sensory audio/visual experience totaling almost an hour of subsonic tones, glitched-out rhythms, synthesized melodies, and extravagant choral passages with hints of Gregorian chants & hymnal somberness. Contained on an absolutely tiny 4-GB micro-SD card which is itself housed inside an equally minuscule clear plastic case, Tsalal is tangibly minimal yet digitally immersive, featuring the complete audio compositions as ultra high-quality lossless WAV files, as well as matching HD videos of synchronized digital environment renders created by Ariadne as visual stimuli to further enhance the intricate nature of Tsalal‘s brooding aesthetic.
The video for “Rejoice” is a perfect example of Ariadne’s powerful approach of using multiple forms of media to completely absorb their audience. As audio alone, the minimalist sacred approach of “Rejoice” makes it difficult to ignore the influence that the masterful living composer Arvo Pärt must have had on the duo, though their unique approach is firmly rooted as much in electronic music as it is classical; other influences ranging from Benjamin Britten to John Tavener may heard herein as well. But with the video accompaniment, a peculiar depth and complexity begins to enter the music purely through metaphor: the unfathomable abyss and the distant point of light yearning within it, the unreachable floating island held watch over by illuminating and all-seeing pillars, and the source, to which darkness will always be attracted yet repelled in moments, though always doomed to fall back inwards upon. Indeed, the video mirrors a depth which is waiting to be found and able to be molded to fit each listener/viewer’s own perspective. While the duo’s approach may be clear, their intentions surely are not, and it is that artistic vagueness that gives incredible power to projects such as these. One thing is for certain, however: Ariadne have impressed upon us an incredible amount of talent and vision for a fledgling project, and it’s likely that they’ll be rising quickly among the ranks of experimental musicians in the coming years.
—Final Paragraph, S. L. Weatherford