Voices From The Lake (feat. Donato Dozzy & Neel) - Voices From The Lake (Prologue)

Voices From the Lake (VFTL) sees Italian producers and friends Donato Dozzy and Neel record over an hour of gently pulsing ambient techno for German label Prologue Records. This is nominally a collection of different tracks but sounds like one gradually morphing piece, arbitrarily divided up.

Released Mar 28th, 2012 via Prologue / By Ben Wood
Voices From The Lake (feat. Donato Dozzy & Neel) - Voices From The Lake (Prologue) A reviewer famously said of Beckett’s Waiting For Godot that “nothing happens, twice”. VFTL has eleven tracks – and, essentially, nothing happens eleven times. The later tracks get marginally ravier, as the drum machine is turned up a smidgen. But this album isn’t aimed at any dancefloor I can imagine – except maybe one where everyone is on ketamine and crouched into a foetal ball.

VFTL is an extremely subtle beast, with rippling atmospherics taking precedence over synth washes or banging kick drums. With few obvious sonic signifiers, listeners are free to supply their own visuals, narratives and emotional associations. It could be the background music to a dream, belonging rather to the realm of the subconscious, rather than anything more everyday.

To this listener, the album depicts an underwater world of waving fronds and coral reefs, a missive from a world much like the underwater screensaver depicted on millions of PCs worldwide – or else the sound of sentient machines speaking to each other, in a language no human can understand. The album embodies a paradox: it feels somehow organic, but is so machine-generated that it sounds untouched by human hand.

Like much ambient music, it feels suspended in time, with no sense of forward momentum. Though the clicks, pulses and hums are perfectly listenable, there are few obvious melodies here. There are no moments of beauty such as those sprinkled throughout the masterpiece of this genre, Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works 85-92.

These tunes are trapped in an endless loop. The album is the polar opposite to the rave philosophy that tracks should “build” towards a climax, and there are no breakdowns to bludgeon us into euphoria. This is a calm, strangely undruggy album – you could imagine people meditating to it.

VFTL is the ultimate background music – there’s not much point concentrating on Voices From the Lake, as there’s not much to pick up on. In an impatient frame of mind, this could be the world’s most boring album. If you were feeling more receptive – in a flotation tank, for instance, or a deep coma - it could subtly envelop you. But don’t be expecting any even vaguely hummable moments…