When reviewing a piece of music, it’s the reviewers job to try and get people interested in that album or EP, especially if you (the reader) are not aware of the band. Sometimes it’s an easy job – IE: it sounds like band A. But sometimes, you receive a piece of music and you know that if you read 100 reviews for that album, each reviewer will probably say something different.
And I’m in that situation with NOÊTA, a duo from Västra Götaland, on the West coast of Sweden. Even their biography contradicts itself as one minute it states …are musically described as black ambient… which I don’t actually agree with (as there’s no Black Metal to be found here – as that’s what Black Ambient means to me), and further down it correctly mentions that …The duo’s wonderfully elusive sound is fascinating and compelling, yet difficult to categorize…
So here we go….
The intro to the opening number, Beyond Life, is actually like a tribal beat version of the Ultravox classic Vienna, but it soon drifts off into a smoky ethereal haze, as Elea’s seductive tones take centre stage.
And how you perceive NOÊTA depends on your previous listening experiences. I don’t really think it sounds like anyone in particular, but who will it appeal to?
Dead Can Dance fans is an obvious contender, it has that ambient, New Age feel with tribal leanings… but I’m more inclined to lean towards the debut album from Kristin Hersh, 1994’s stunning darkly acoustic masterpiece, Hips and Makers.
Beyond Life And Death has the same minimalist approach, with female vocals over stark acoustics and a gorgeous sense of switching off from the outside world as you completely absorb yourself into the calming darkness that they’ve created.
I can sit and listen to this (slightly) miserable slice of aural beauty all day long. Unfortunately, I don’t think my words will do this album justice, but if you like ambient music with a very dark heart, then this predominantly acoustic album is for you…
Especially if you are sitting in an empty field, bar one lonely tree and your whole world has transformed into black and white and you are watching the gathering storm clouds as they prepare to unleash their anger right above your head….
Well, that’s the picture it paints for me, and I don’t even take any drugs.