Symbiosis / Ancient Tundra
These Engulfing Winds Never Die Split CD/DVD
Two frozen entities of frostbitten ambient isolation unite on this split CD and DVD, Canada's Ancient Tundra and Italy's Symbiosis.
I will review the Music first:
Symbiosis side is comprised of five tracks, starting with an intro combining subterranean samples with tearful notes. Il Trionfo della Caducita is a pompous orchestration that is both regal and brooding. Sol Indiges is piano based and sounds out of place as it has a very romantic air about it that borders on almost movie-soundtrack acceptability. Evil whispering and buried pounding lurk beneath a wash of textured sound on Se Una Notte D'Inverno un Viaggiatore which leaves me feeling empty. However the shimmering astral quality of the final track Luce Invernale is the best composition as its sorrowful synth paint nighttime cityscapes filled with loneliness. One problem with the Symbiosis material is it is not really unified in any way.
The three songs on Ancient Tundra's side are where the magic happens and are of far more emotional impact to me. I Walk Through Vast White Fields, has an eerie sharp synth that pierces to my core and fills me with barren despair. At the 4 minute mark there begins a period of a bombastic, pounding beat and yearning keys. The ghostly whispering that closes the track deepens the otherworldly quality of the music. Up next is Land of Midnight Sun which uses layered keys to paint a solemn unity with natural splendor, like a starker version of the early Burzum synth music. The clean and tortured vocals add a sense of earthy nostalgia and serve to ground the track. Kvoloya Island completes the album, a more minimalist approach with muted drums and slowly drifting synths that bring to mind the shifting sea of snow in the desolate north. Ancient Tundra doesn't suffer from the same lack of unification that Symbiosis did and I am drawn into a world that is painted in hues of sadness and possessed of icy beauty.
Now on to the DVD aspect of this package: