Daniel Menche * The Abyss Within Us * Mamiffer

The Soaring


With more than 80 albums since 1980, Daniel Menche explores “the textural dimensions and emotional weight in an endless variety of sound sources” – which can range from intense noise to soft immersive drones and anything in between.
The Soaring is one from the ‘soft immersive’ category. It is a 62-minute drone based on the floating harmonics of the voices of Faith Coloccia and Joe Preston, with Menche adding additional sounds of the bass cello as well as post-producing the recorded sounds.

The original idea was to record this piece with four classically trained vocalists, but Menche later decided that the piece would “hold more emotional resonance when he collaborated with like-minded artists”. Coloccia and Preston came to mind.

“I realized that the human singing voice contains the most dynamic harmonics and stands on top of that list of true music purity […] It struck me that a baritone and a falsetto voice of the two would get the job done—to make an hour-long piece of continuous music that melts gravity and gives the sense of soaring,”

There’s no possibility to compare the outcome, since the classically trained version does not exist, but it definitely feels he made the right decision. If you surrender yourself to the sounds of The Soaring, you may feel as if you’re floating through air.



We can explore more of Mamiffer (Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner) by checking their album Mettapatterning For Constellation, recently released on their own label Sige Records. This album features two ‘incarnations’ of the same composition written by Coloccia, a composition that was commissioned by the Sacrum Profanum Festival in Krakow, Poland.

If you want to experience how a composition can grow, it’s best to start with side (or track) 2. This track is the original “pre-notation home recording” of the piece, as performed by Coloccia, Turner, and percussionist Jon Mueller. Not to be confused with what is usually called a ‘demo’ recording: this recording obviously is already past that stage.
Later, the piece was orchestrated by none other than Eyvind Kang, and performed live on the 2017 festival edition by the Półdzielnia Muzyczna contemporary ensemble.
Both versions definitely have their own charm, but it’s nice to hear an example of how a composition, a set of musical ideas, can evolve over time.

I have no idea what Mettapatterning means, by the way. Metta may possibly refer to the Buddhist word for loving kindness. But, as the liner notes explain: “a perfect metaphor for Mettapatterning would be that of eukaryotic organisms: those that can live freely as single cells, but can also aggregate together to form multicellular reproductive structures, just as a lo-fi 4-track creation can evolve into its own distinct, transcribed, and orchestrated form when presented to the world.”


Abyss within us


I was somewhat worried when I saw the name The Abyss Within Us, which I somehow associated with dark and scary noise. But seeing this was a release on the Astral Industries label reassured me; I knew I could dive in with confidence.
And I was not disappointed.

For the original vinyl release (now sold out), the Italian duo consisting of Claudio Porceddu (Claudio PRC) and Stefano Ferrari recorded two 20-minute soundscapes, combining “lush ambient soundscapes with beguiling mysticism – a journey into darker, farther places”.

Some of the atmospheres reminded me of early Cosmic Krautrock music, more specific the flute-like sounds on side 1. But this does not mean the overall sound is ‘retro’ – it has a nice and warm ‘contemporary’ production.

As usual, Astral Industries is a bit sparse when it comes to additional background information about the artists, but Discogs tells me that Claudio Porceddu is an Italian DJ and music producer coming from the techno scene. So is Stefano Ferrari, whose focus is more on ambient/dub techno. As The Abyss Within Us they previously released one self-title album in 2019.
Life In A Circle, however, can definitely be classified as ambient: there are no beats involved here.

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