Archai by Michael Bentley

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Michael Bentley | Archai
The Foundry (CD/DL)

The guiding light behind The Foundry, which was quite busy putting out a spectral range of quality recordings in the late 90s and early 00s, has returned. Michael Bentley‘s Archai, from the label runner himself is the imprint’s first since 2006 and is miles from leaving this re-emerging label from only mythical past history. The title stems from the Greek for ‘origin’ – which seems perfectly apropos to welcome Bentley back. It opens with the title cut, a ghostly drone seems to emerge from left field, slowly coating the entire scene in a hivelike low buzz and blunt blur. The work is delicate, an ambient escape with a slightly dark (almost gothic) tinge around the edges.

The most evident quality here is its methodical turtle’s pace. There’s so much emulsifying quietude in the ultra-subtle Place, Moment that the listener will find themselves imbued in a halting, quasi-embryonic state of mind and body. Pure atmospheric minimalism that is one part cosmic, two parts haunted.  The chords warp slightly but are carried into Night’s Silver Egg. In what can only be described as something falling from the sky in the wee hours is a distant drone ebbing away, descending into a vortex of nothingness.

Again, this cryptic environment continues to baffle into Aether. If you listen intently enough you will hear a gentle percolation of active buzzing amid open air. You most definitely get the feeling of being outside the self even as this is completely realized as a bed of edgeless space in mid-metamorphosis. To simply refer to this as amorphous and elusive would be appropriate, but an understatement as once the tones drop so deep and with an uncertain smokiness Bentley then draws further into the gauge of the psyche. He then drops you into the center of And Then with its ethereal mix that pulsates with a warm glow.

For the finale, The Titans Remain Chained In The Bowels Of The Earth, an orchestral-style set-up gives way to a gaseous drone that fixes the setting afloat. The hypnagogic engagement here is unparalleled, it’s really, truly lost in space – and its lengthy fadeout creates a lucid stream of consciousness.

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