Nocturne is the type of album that everyone should try at least once. While firmly based in the world of experimental music, the fifth album from Aquavoice (Tadeusz Luczejko) uses a basic and minimal structure that many people—not just the hardcore fans of the genre—may find appealing. By that same measure, it may not have quite enough depth for genre veterans, but it’s still a well-conceived and confident record.
Aquavoice does a good deal of borrowing style and arrangement from other acts, but rarely sounds like outright copying. There’s a bit of Oil 10 in Aquavoice’s DNA. The quirky ambiance of tracks such as “In the Night” and “Fish Dreams” carry more than a passing resemblance to Gilles Rossire‘s early experimental phase (eg. “In the Gloom”), with sparse samples and minimal sequences cut-and-pasted until they fit together in whimsical fashion. Despite its title, Nocturne isn’t a heavy brand of darkness, but a late-night playground where Luczejko flexes his creativity. Even on the somewhat ominously titled “Black Silence,” the tone is wide-eyed and somewhat playful, bringing Tekniq to mind, but without that project’s sentimental bent. A good number of tracks on Nocturne feature sampled water or rain—fitting for a project named Aquavoice—and they go about their indulgent business in quite an attractive and earnest manner.
Aquavoice has other obvious influences as well. The singular keyboard notes and whispered vocal samples of “Sleep Well” are a clear nod to Beyond Sensory Experience, and while Nocturne takes a darker turn here, there’s none of Beyond Sensory Experience’s practiced bleakness. “Lunapark” uses lightly tapping metallic percussion that makes me think Luczejko should be paying Tor Lundvall at least a bit of royalties! In fact, Nocturne feels more than a little similar to Lundvall’s wonderfully close-knit and tenuous atmospheres, but Aquavoice doesn’t take things nearly as deep.
The album contains familiar themes for veterans of experimental music, such as the sample-heavy and spacey “Stargate” and the trip-into-a-hive “The Secret Life of Insects.” Other acts have explored such concepts in far more depth and detail, but their appearance here gives Nocturne a good bit of variety, giving it the feel of a short-story collection. The spacey collage of airy synths, tiny pops and crackles, little whirs, and light washes keeps the album consistent throughout, as does the four-to-five-minute running time of each of the eleven tracks. As Nocturne progresses, however, this adherence to formula causes the album to begin to become too familiar, even straying into predictability.
Nocturne is the perfect album to introduce someone to abstract electronic experimentalism. Aquavoice won’t be mistaken for a genre heavyweight by any stretch, but what’s here carries a distinct attraction. Though somewhat superficial, Nocturne is oddly pleasing. Long-time genre fans won’t likely get their deep-seeded itches scratched, but those unfamiliar with the genre will find a lot to like.
01) Pneumatic Sequence
02) In the Night
03) Black Silence
04) Fish Dreams
05) Sleep Well
06) The Secret Life of Insects
08) Endless Enigma
09) Nebulous Dawn
11) Sunday Afternoon