Bruce Gilbert – OBLIVIO AGITATUM

Editions Mego

This record makes me recall the early stages of my naïve enthusiasm for esoteric ambient back in the early 1990s, when all that was needed for bliss was slow-moving repetition ricocheting amidst cavernous echo. Almost two decades later I find it difficult to get too excited about Oblivio Agitatum, which marks Bruce Gilbert’s return to action as a solo artist after several years. Not that it’s bad; it’s just a little superficial-sounding, despite its attempts to probe the dark waters of cyclicality. The album’s backbone is the lengthy “Zeroes”, which immerses treated guitars and other ingredients in flanging reverberation and subjects them to a modicum of interference. It works for a while, but doesn’t transmit much to the emotional system. The title track is an unkindly purring preamble of sorts, and the best chapter is saved for last: the three and a half minutes of “Isophyre” seem to breathe deeper, existing in an underwater world whose remote corners might well hide a nasty surprise. A shame that it’s not developed at greater length. I’ll have to stick with Soliloquy for Lilith when I want to revisit my innocent drone-loving youth. Too little Agitatum here, and definitely headed to Oblivio.

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