Soundtrack for the Aquarium by Vidna Obmana

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Vidna Obmana | Soundtrack for the Aquarium
Zoharum (CD/DL)

A limited edition re-release of seminal Belgian project vidnaObmana‘s (Dirk Serries), originally released back in 1993 (via Projekt w/a secondary disc of live material), here remastered by the artist himself in a limited edition (nearly sold out) on the Polish imprint Zoharum. The new cover art is now black and white with illuminating watery imagery by Martina Verhoeven. Somehow I missed this one the first time around, so in many ways its always exciting to look back, all over again, in the now.

Made up of seven tracks, ranging in length from two to nineteen minutes, these are all similarly titled and then numbered. This was originally created for continuous playback at the Antwerp Zoo in 1993, which must have been quite interesting to hear this as you are walking amid the lions, tigers and bears, yes. In fact, what you experience here is sheer deep ambient work, fluid of texture, by use of loops and rainsticks to provide an atmosphere that you could curl up to, and fall into unconsciousness. This is, in other words, a pure sleep record.

Surrounded by constant trickling and breathing synth drones this has a plural sense of animus, in its sheer lilt and subtle shifting luminosity. The listener will feel a safe sense of license to get simply allow themselves to get lost in their own personal space. The submerged mind allows for more than you think, and this is the style of work that kindles the flame of the subconscious. Back when I can remember thinking how Serries somewhat re-invented a post-new age sensibility, and I stand by that as I listen to this record. Recalling how I loathed the original genre as simply weightless and wimpy – the sound of vidnaObmana was anything but, bringing a new bold edge to a completely dead genre, and inviting a whole new audience into work that could be spiritual, or meditative, but never wallpaper. He redefined his sound with a sense of briskness, and a touch of the darker, more trance-like side of these ethereal passages.

Not without its play on industrialism, tone, volume and pregnant pauses, Soundtrack for the Aquarium is, for the most part, a salient reminder that anything can be the source of inspiration. And why not marine life, as most of our Earth is covered in H2O. I can only wish that every aquarium had its own soundtrack – and this one here, is a classic.

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