Voices From The Lake
Voices From The Lake


5.0
classic

Review

by TMobotron CONTRIBUTOR (25 Reviews)
August 4th, 2014 | 38 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ambient techno perfection.

We are introduced to Voices From The Lake with the sounds of running water, light but steady percussion, and quivering synths. A smooth, gentle introduction, and a momentary snapshot that’s incapable of giving much indication to the sounds that follow. It’s the gentle beginning of a massive journey, and In a way, the perfect introduction. There’s not a single moment on the album that would capture its smooth flow, natural soundscapes, and monumental scope with any sense of accuracy. Voices From The Lake is delivered as an 11-track album, which seems to be a choice based on tradition more than anything else. Isolating an individual track here doesn’t just diminish its impact through the removal of context. Like watching a pivotal movie scene without knowing the characters or motives, it completely cuts out a tremendous build of setting, atmosphere, and momentum. Voices From The Lake was meant to be listened to in full, with focused ears, and anything less will drastically diminish its impact.

It’s a method of listening that doesn’t exist quite like it used to, and one that’s generally even easier to overlook with regards to the techno genre. Even the spaciest brands of atmospheric techno typically leave their mark within the confines of track durations. Techno that plays out as an epic composition over an hour-long duration is a rarity, and it has never been done on the level that it has been here. It seems obvious that Donato Dozzy and Neel (the two members of VFTL) approached the album with a different mindset than is generally used in the genre. There are a few moments of relatively large dynamic shifts here, which typically punctuate track changes. The transition from opener “Iyo” into “Vega” is probably the most obvious. The percussion and ominous melodies that were slowly built over “Iyo”’s gorgeous ten minutes suddenly are taken up a notch, falling into a more focused rhythmic punch with a harder edge to the lead melody and surrounding atmospherics. But typically the dynamics of Voices From The Lake come and go without any obvious sign of their entrance, and completely new soundscapes are so smoothly arrived at that sometimes it’s easy to forget that you were hearing something completely different a few minutes ago.

The first 25 minutes of Voices From The Lake are entirely filled with dense layerings of cold melodies and droning ambience that fill out an imaginary environment with a beautiful mix of familiar and foreign sounds. Like much of the best electronic works that have a foot in ambient, from Music Has The Right To Children to Untrue, there’s a warm sense of comfort in the familiar that retains a perfect sense of balance with the other-worldly. You’d never know it while listening due to how expertly crafted it all is, but when “S.T. (VFTL Rework)” kicks in, everything before it feels like a warm up. If any one moment could be seen as the climax here (or at least the turning point when the album reaches its peak and never looks back) it’s when the dark ambience slowly subsides while the warm piano notes start and the peaceful surrounding aura starts to fill the air. The album’s appeal is never quite as obvious, and with its placing after the powerful build that came before it, a more powerful blend of warm feelings and atmosphere simply has never been achieved in electronic music.

Because of the prominence of the charming leads that take the forefront of “S.T. (VFTL Rework)”, nothing that follows it is ever quite as obvious in its execution. In truth, you don’t want them to be. The remainder of the album never falters in quality, it simply accomplishes the same with more subtlety. But from then on out, it’s nothing but sublime. Everything is packed to the brim with rich atmospheres that build vivid worlds for the listener to explore. It’s completely unparalleled in its feeling of imaginary travel through foreign environments. “In Giova” is initially anchored by steady 4/4 kicks and a visceral, pulsating bassline provide some of the album’s most rhythmically captivating moments, but eventually blossoms into something even more powerful with a simple repeating melody that’s continuously surrounded by swelling melodies sounding like they would fit right in on a Stars of the Lid album. Generally, if the percussion wasn’t so firmly planted in Dozzy and Neel’s techno roots, it would be easy to draw comparisons to some of the ambient greats. The fact that the steady, techno rhythms are present throughout is not only what makes this stand out as an ambient work, but they also provide a hypnotic rhythmic pulse that just add one more layer of captivation to the already mesmerizing work.

Voices From The Lake is a techno album first and foremost. As a continuous mix, it never drops out of its steady, bassy kicks. But its largest appeal comes from the ambient aspects that appeal to fans of music found on Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works or William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops. It is one of the best examples of an album to get lost in, and one that’s much more rewarding if you do so. It’s rare to find such rich ambience in techno, and it’s rare to find such focused drum beats in ambient. Truthfully, both genres are made better from it. Voices From The Lakes is a delicately and expertly crafted masterpiece, and one that shouldn’t be missed by fans of either.



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user ratings (31)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
August 4th 2014


7133 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Kind of weird for me to be giving this a 5 because I thought this was overhyped for the longest
time, but after really sitting down and giving this a lot of deep listens I was in love. Truly think
it's one of the greatest electronic albums ever and a modern classic. And at least now we have
somewhere to talk about that sad 3.7 rating.

Like I say in the review, it REALLY deserves to be listened to as a whole, so I don't like giving a
sample track, but if you really need one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kfnrLPrq7M

But again...

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 4th 2014


31340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Rating is too high!

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
August 4th 2014


7133 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Deviant I thought you were someone I could count on to at least have this at 4.5 smh

Riotsugar
August 4th 2014


185 Comments


adding this to 'my discussions' so I remember to listen to it. god bless

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 4th 2014


31340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To be honest it's like a 4.2, but I rated it prior to the increment increase. It's a great album don't get me wrong, but it does lull in a few places

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
August 4th 2014


7133 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah I'm honestly totally fine w/ a 4 for it. But to me this is maybe the best album I've ever heard to just sit down and give a headphones listen to all the way through.

Phlegm
August 4th 2014


5074 Comments


mint

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 4th 2014


6486 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Rating is too high!

No it isn't

Wonderful review for one of my favorite albums of the last few years. Fantastic stuff.

Digging: Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

ShitsofRain
August 4th 2014


5910 Comments


velo di maya is also great

just reminded me to get more bunker stuff

Digging: Round One to Round Five - 1993-99 Main Street Records

thelastsignal
August 4th 2014


1370 Comments


Awesome review, this sounds like something I should give a chance.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
August 4th 2014


1143 Comments


Similar artists: Stars of the Lid

Well then.

Digging: Clive Brooks - Ambient I: Blue Aegean

PunchforPunch
August 4th 2014


6280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this doesn't sound like stars of the lid tho

JohnnyOnTheSpot
August 4th 2014


1143 Comments


Aw man, I was excited

ExplosiveOranges
August 4th 2014


3130 Comments


Sweet review, dude. I definitely gotta check this one out.

Digging: Winterfylleth - The Divination Of Antiquity

CaptainDooRight
August 4th 2014


29877 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cool, nice to see this reviewed

Digging: Impetuous Ritual - Unholy Congregation of Hypocritical Ambivalence

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
August 4th 2014


7133 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Removed the last 2 recs - I mention in the review why they're similar so it's probably less confusing if I just leave it that way.

Typhoner
August 8th 2014


869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dude, I was thinking about finally filling the void for this and now you already did all the heavy lifting :-)

Kind of weird for me to be giving this a 5 because I thought this was overhyped for the longest time, but after really sitting down and giving this a lot of deep listens I was in love.


This hard

Typhoner
August 8th 2014


869 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Anyways, your review is so much better than what I would've cooked up, so pos for that.

Sleaper
August 15th 2014


3403 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

awesome album... listening to this on a houseboat with sound system blaring = perfection

Digging: Vince Staples - Hell Can Wait

PunchforPunch
August 15th 2014


6280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

u must be a rich suburban white kid



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