Vidna Obmana & Serge Devadder: The Shape of Solitude

Vidna Obmana is a Belgian sound sculptor whose recent Motives for Recycling, a remix of work by Asmus Tietchens, was reviewed in the last Sound Projector. On this occasion he teams up with guitarist Serge Devadder for an hour’s worth of fairly run-of-the-mill Ambient fare.

The CD opens with some virtuoso guitar playing from Devadder. His technique may be faultless, but the effect is soporific. Interwoven with these tasteful pluckings are Obmana’s more testing manipulations, which gradually come to dominate the album.

‘Perceptual Edge’ sees Devadder’s playing move up a notch, his intricate picking complemented nicely by Obmana’s sustained washes of sound. The lengthy ‘A Stinging Memory Of Shared Skin’ is the album’s high point; the heavily treated guitar floats malevolently around the listener, producing an eerie, alien sound world. This ominous mood continues in the album’s effective closing piece, ‘Leaving This Place Again’.

Over the course of an hour, however, interest palls. The above highlights aside, it all sounds so terribly inert, its aimlessness evidence of a lack of imagination and spirit rather than any kind of contemplative detachment.

(Originally published in The Sound Projector 7, 2000)

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