Many years ago, a friend of mine gave me a manuscript detailing his solo trek through the Himalayas. Here were pages and pages of rugged climbs, snow fields, spiraling heights, and deep crevasses. Tales of what he came to refer to as “The Mindless Immensities”: those vast, isolated spaces where he could go days without seeing another human being. Should I ever decide to base a film on these harrowing adventures, I’d score it with Tauusk’s Hunter.
This is cold-to-the-bone music. 110 minutes of windblown, ambient doom stretched across six tracks. Răzvan Lazea-Postelnicu, the driving force behind this Romanian instrumental project, uses treated guitar, synths, grim field recordings, and other samples to create “ethereal and ominous soundscapes,” and the results are undeniably arctic. The aforementioned field recordings are especially effective, as howling winds are sampled and then processed, hardening them to emphasize the uncaring, inhuman nature of, well… Nature. While a good deal of this material is synth-based (rolling drones are all but omnipresent), melodic and black metal-style guitar passages are also used to great effect, though this never overwhelms the stately, frozen feel of the proceedings.
The centerpiece of the release is undoubtedly the sprawling “Lament.” Synths are all but abandoned in favor of glacial, Sunn O)))-esque guitar strums that rumble across icy fields of doom while free jazz saxophone wonks stutter one moment and mourn the next. This miasma of sound lasts for nearly three quarters of an hour before slowly devolving, that vast glacier cracking and crumbling to finally fall beneath the waves.
I always struggle with assigning genres to music, especially given the plethora of subgenres and sub-subgenres that keep cropping up, but “ambient” certainly steps to the fore here. However, I’m not entirely comfortable with just leaving it at that, as this album is a great deal more complex. Yes, it’s deeply awash in ambiences, but as Brian Eno famously said, “[ambient music] must be as ignorable as it is interesting,” and there’s just too much of the latter going on here for the former to be true.