“And then, the mountains moved” - an EP that captivates and uplifts with a refreshingly harmonious bellow; one that threatens to tear the world away and leave you lost in contemplation. With an ethereal tranquility that appears to pulsate in time with the landscape it claims to represent, natural, classical and contemporary inspiration becomes apparent, with juxtaposing genres complimenting each other magnificently. James Joshua Otto achieves high levels of quality through his expression of skill; a great sense of depth and drama become immediately apparent and set the precedent from the opening of the first track “One step enough” - a gentle introduction which foreshadows the excellence yet to be discovered.
Canada based ambient artist and producer Aeuria has been quietly creating tremors and atmospheric sub-bass undulations for just over a year now, and ‘Birth’, his five track debut EP released on City By Night records is a great clemency, a lesson in subtly and cold allure.
Opening track ‘Essence’ swells with the sound of heavy rain, setting a cold temperament before soft piano chords provide depth and meagre warmth. Bijou, the female vocalist has an ethereal appeal and is reminiscent of Iceland’s Mum or possibly Sigur Ros. This is highly visual music, and the use of natural sounds (field recordings and foley sounds of chattering birds, heavy rain and footsteps on stone) invariably creates images of expansive lakes, boreal forests and adversarial weather.
Title track ‘Birth’ steadily moves away from the field recording ambience of ‘Essence’ and sticks firmly to electronic devices without losing any of the melancholic and wintry aspect of the EP.
‘After Never, Before Always’ is nestled at the chilly heart of the record and is essentially the drawing together of the elements introduced to us in the first two tracks. Bijou’s soft, coaxing whispers lay over the ever present undulatory sub bass which nudges a warm glow into the atmospheric and elegiac haze. ‘Regardless’ sees Aeuria himself provide spoken vocals, stepping out of the shadows to use his voice as a percussive element in the piece, echoing the harder, rhythmical electronic sounds being introduced. Closer ‘The True’ is a swift return to the field recordings and icy, soft anodic impressions. It’s a brief closing gambit, and seems to snap to and end, cruelly.
With ‘Birth’, Aeuria has produced a beautiful, if brief, articulation of a chilly unyielding musical landscape irresolute within nature and essentially, our memory of a landscape we may never have seen. ‘Birth’ is a journey imbued with a sad nostalgia for a place that may not exist. As we slip into the winter months and darkness draws closer earlier on in the day, it is music like Aeuria’s that communicate and connect the most. It is a reflection of the world we see out of our windows at this time of year, whether we are ensconced deep within a rural expanse or tethered to a bustling city. It will be interesting to see where Aeuria takes us next.
Written by Jessica Crowe