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HALL OF MIRRORS: Forgotten Realm (CD 2009 - Silentes)

Non c'è pace né consolazione nella musica degli Hall Of Mirrors. Giuseppe Verticchio (Nimh) e Andrea Marutti (Amon) hanno dato un seguito alla loro lungimirante collaborazione pubblicando il successore di 'Reflections On Black' e pregiando ancora la scena elettronica sperimentale italiana di un vero e proprio manifesto di arte contemporanea. Questa volta al fianco dei due artisti troviamo Andrea Freschi (Subinterior, Konau) e Andrea Ferraris (Ur, Sil Muir) che caratterizzano le stratificazioni elettroniche disposte nella sala degli specchi. 'Forgotten Realm' è suddiviso idealmente in cinque capitoli che rappresentano altrettante escursioni nei meandri del nostro animo attraverso una serie di immagini che fanno parte del passato e della quotidiana realtà. 'The Crossing' e 'Among The Ruins' sono i due estratti che più si conciliano col materiale del debutto mentre 'Gates Of Namathur', 'Decadent Splendour' e 'The Fortress' si immolano come magnifici esempi di tecnica asservita al genio sperimentale. Calarsi nell'universo degli Hall Of Mirrors sarà come immergersi negli abissi che le tenebre hanno riservato a mente e corpo per raggiungere la redenzione completa.
- Divine - Dagheisha

“Forgotten Realm” is the second album published by the duo Andrea Marutti (Never Known, Amon, Sil Muir) and Giuseppe Verticchio (Nimh) under the project name “Hall of Mirrors”. In this new release, they are seconded by guest musicians Andrea Feschi and Andrea Ferraris who provided some field recordings and some guitar parts. If their first offering was a shadowy heavily lugubrious atmospheric ambient manifest (made of static, ferocious, muted dreamscapes), “Forgotten Realm” is much more a primal-alchemical music procession that could be nocturnal hyms to the genesis, to the ancient time. Consequently the dynamic dronescapes and textural electronic waves are profundly expressive and intuitively beatific. The serene and deeply absorbing ethno-electronic pieces are stylistically closed to the most ascentional synthesised works by Alio Die, Vidna Obmana, Harold Budd (...) but with much more emphasise on nocturnal motives. Thus it is less luminous and most vertiginous with a constant association to memnonic traces, fractured living memories and melancholic visions. The opening track is an organic classic ambient piece with long chordal dronespheres. “Gates of Namathur” is partly uses acoustic instruments that seem to flow in a magic whorship. “Decadent splendour” is a moody-funereal sanctified music ritual for echoing guitar chords and foggy harsh noises. This is among my favourites, the perfect way to experience contemplative ecstasy through music. “Among the ruins” is a detached soundscape that connects us to some other worlds. The atmosphere is progressively charged with some kind of high tension including buzzing noises and doom like feelings. During the last minutes we go back to the heavenly origins with superb acoustic flute lines. The album closes with an utterly dark and primordial synthscape, admitting hermetic cyclical melodies into it and guitar epic dreaminess. “Forgotten Realm” is a voluptuous-essential vertical trip in cristal like spheres and lost paradises.
- Philippe Blache - Progarchives

Il secondo album degli Hall of Mirrors (Andrea Marutti/Amon, Giuseppe Verticchio/Nimh) vede la partecipazione di Andrea Freschi (Subinterior, Canaan) e Andrea Ferraris (Airchamber 3, Ur, Ulna, Deep End…), quasi come se attorno all’etichetta Silentes si stesse formando una sorta di collettivo industrial/ambient italiano. Rispetto all’esordio “Reflections on Black”, sembra esserci una maggiore varietà di situazioni. Su “The Crossing” è come giungere su qualche rotaia in qualche posto abbandonato e piovoso: curiosa la somiglianza con il disco collaborativo tra Hollowing e Maor Appelbaum (altro musicista che compare spesso su Silentes), ma arriva il suono dilatato della chitarra di Giuseppe Verticchio a rendere il tutto diverso e momentaneamente più sereno e meditativo. Di “Gates of Namathur” rimane in testa il flauto khlui suonato in chiave quasi “drone” da Giuseppe, il che – come suggerisce il titolo – dà una sorta di connotazione ancestrale al tutto e fa capire definitivamente che stiamo viaggiando in un mondo “altro”, tema ricorrente sia in Amon sia in Nimh, seppur declinato in maniere diverse. Con “Decadent Splendour” torna protagonista il suono indolente della chitarra, che prelude a una prima fase rumorosa e satura del disco, in apparente contrasto con il synth impalpabile della successiva “Among the Ruins”, ma durante lo sviluppo della traccia si scopre che il gioco del “crescendo noise” è simile. Si chiude in malinconia con “The Fortress”, con la chitarra di Verticchio che sembra echeggiare tra macchinari in continua e misteriosa attività. “Forgotten Realm” è un disco realizzato da chi ormai è un veterano in questo ambito, con ammirevole cura dei dettagli e capacità di ricombinare elementi noti agli appassionati del genere in qualcosa di valore, grazie anche all’adozione di una formazione aperta.
- Fabrizio Garau - Audiodrome


La seconda collaborazione tra Andrea Marutti (Amon) e Giuseppe Verticchio (Nimh) ha un respiro psichedelico che era meno evidente sul CD d'esordio degli Hall of Mirrors, "Reflections on Black", pubblicato giusto un paio d'anni prima sempre dalla lungimirante Silentes di Stefano Gentile. Sul nuovo capitolo ci sono anche Andrea Freschi (Subinterior, Canaan) e Andrea Ferraris (Airchamber 3, Ur, Ulna, Deep End) ad aggiungere elementi ad un mondo già di per sè stratificato e complesso. La traccia che apre il disco, la lunga "The Crossing", mostra subito l'abilità di Marutti e Verticchio (qui aiutati da Freschi) nel dare respiro ad uno scurissimo drone che prende vita tra un ruscello d'acqua e una cascata di rumori a tratti assordante. In mezzo l'essenza del drone continua indisturbata la propria lenta avanzata, almeno fino a quando, dopo la boa dei sette minuti, una chitarra elettrica imposta i comandi per il cuore del Sole. La stessa attitudine visionaria pervade la meravigliosa "The Gates of Namathur", sorta di dark-ambient psichedelica trasportata dal flauto thailandese di Verticchio in uno spazio-tempo indefinito. Una vera casa degli specchi in cui ogni particolare viene riflesso all'infinito. Come i detriti che scorrono sotto le chitarre alla Cure nella prima parte di "Decadent Splendour". Il tenebroso finale alla Popol Vuh di "The Fortress" chiude nel migliore dei modi un album che rappresenta una sorta di manifesto del suono post-industriale nato dall'incontro tra due delle realtà più significative della scena elettronica sperimentale italiana.
- Roberto Mandolini - Onda Rock

Dopo il debut "Reflections on Black" prosegue con tenacia il flirt creativo fra Andrea Marutti e Giuseppe Verticchio sotto il sognante segno degli Hall of Mirrors con un altro full lenght di pregiata dark-ambient dove presteranno servigio anche Andrea Freschi e Andrea Ferraris. L’opening di “The Crossing” ci fa precipitare all’istante in un magma di drone e dissonanza, alleggerito al suo centro dalla presenza di field recordings naturalistici e acquosi (farina del sacco di Freschi) che ben si adagiano al via vai etereo delle sparute note emesse dalla chitarra del Verticchio; parlerei serenamente di un’ispirazione che attinge, tout cour, all’estatica fonte del maestro Paul Schütze, sfiorando qua e là obnubilanti retaggi post-industrial. Seguitando il cammino verso l’infinito, con “Gates of Namathur”, l’aplomb degli HoM di danzare con la volontà di potenza dell’oscurità è cosa ormai assodata, ma a tale disegno va aggiunto un trasporto parallelo dei nostri per i suoni primordiali dalla consistenza etnica, intercettati nel catacombale e discontinuo vagito di un flauto tailandese, la cui enfasi accresce di minuto in minuto grazie anche alla filigrana elettronica inerpicata dagli inferi. “Decadent Splendour” è un titolo, poi, che si sposa a meraviglia col climax del brano: un tragitto di decadente espiazione esistenziale introdotto dalle fosche iniezioni delle chitarre tramite un effetto scivolante che ricorda non poco lo slide, e che al suo termine le vedrà risucchiate da un grigiastro motorik percussivo sceso a patti col martial. E se il diletto per un bilinguismo fatto di estasi e rumore irrompe puntuale anche in “Among the Ruins”, alternandosi tra retrogusto organistico e power frequencies tracimanti nell’harsh, “The Fortress” disimpegna la propria spiritualità attraverso l’uso della melodia con docili arpeggi in lontananza su cui s’infrangono temperate pulsioni ritmiche di stregata fattura ambientale.
- S.E. – Sands Zine

Hall of Mirrors is an Italian dark-ambient project by Andrea Marutti and Giuseppe Verticchio. With “Forgotten Realm” they deliver their second album, again on the Silentes Minimal Editions label. The album has 5 tracks but is 70 minutes in length, so expect long, drawn-out songs, like an effective dark-ambient track should require. We open with the epic, almost 18 minute long, “The Crossing”. This track is very much in the vein of the newer Raison d’Etre material; heavy industrial sounds over dark-ambient passages. It’s thus not like we haven’t heard this industrial-ambient before, but it is rather effective and has a nice tension to it, with in the middle quieter moments with the use of nice guitars. A very good track! “Gates of Namathur” is again dark industrial-ambient. This time it’s heavier on the reverbs. There are also some nice sounds to be heard to give it a dualistic feel. The track is very atmospheric, with a good dimensional feel to it. “Decadent Splendour” starts off more quiet with guitar sounds in heavy reverbs. As the song progresses we venture more into the industrial-ambient realm. “Among the Ruins” goes again for the same route; starting off with more quiet ambient passages, before becoming an intense industrial-ambient wasteland. The journey ends with “The Fortress”, which is a darkly melodic and cinematic song which works very effective with some nice guitar melodies weaved in. “Forgotten Realm” is a good album. While sometimes it has a little too striking resemblance with Raison d’Etre, and then especially his newer work, Hall of Mirrors still have sounds of their own to offer, to not make it a complete copy, especially with the use of nice guitars and in the last song they create a more authentic atmosphere. As a whole the album sounds very good, with good production values. If they could make their album sound somewhat more “original” in places, they would have a real winner. But this is still an excellent album for dark-ambient fans, especially of the Cold Meat variety!
- Fabian - Gothtronic

A hall of mirrors is a house of doubt, erected for the specific purpose of disarraying the senses – which image is the substantial one? Andrea Marutti (as Amon) and Giuseppe Verticchio (as Nimh) have teamed up before for the album "Sator" and once previously as Hall of Mirrors. For this perfectly balanced third collaboration, they have chosen to work closely with veteran Andrea Freschi and Andrea Ferraris, Marutti´s partner in Sil Muir, just as they did with the lesser-known Giulio Biaggi and Daniela Gherardi on the first Hall of Mirrors album, "Reflections on Black".
Arranged in five, grand audio frescoes, they convey a mixed message in combining clearly Buddhist and southeast Asian inspired iconography with the grimy, almost entirely abandoned ambience of urban gray zones. A mixed message which can be very attractive in its ambivalence, like the lone Thai flute being blown against a distant hiss and hum of heavy machinery losing momentum on ”Gates of Namathur”. It is as if nature, having given way to civilization, which exploited it until exhausted, is being reconsecrated and reclaimed. A light-hearted guitar coda recurs on the final track, broadcasting optimism and rejuvenation. This is how Hall of Mirrors sows doubt and thus dimension in its music - does this music grieve or celebrate?
- Stephen Fruitman - Sonomu


Psychedelic echoes surface in this second collaboration between Italian experimentalists Andrea Marutti (Amon) and Giuseppe Verticchio (Nimh). In comparison to their debut CD "Reflections On Black", released in 2007 by Stefano Gentile's always far-seeing Silent Minimal Editions label, the new Hall Of Mirrors work is centred upon soundscapes reminding of the New York deep house school, with new age-like Eastern echoes, made even suasiver by certain psychedelic tones. Supporting the couple there are also Andrea Freschi (former Canaan) and Andrea Ferraris (Airchamber 3, Ulna), adding elements to a world already stratified and complex by itself.
The opening goes to the long "The Crossing", in which Marutti and Verticchio (assisted by Freschi) give life to a dark tomb drone, coupled with the reverberations of a brook and a waterfall of almost deafening noise. This sound funeral proceeds slow and grievous until the peak of the seventh minute, when an electric guitar shows the way to the sun. Visionary dark ambient awaits in track 3, "The Gates Of Namathur", where the notes of a Thai flute, swiftly played by Verticchio, enhance the sense of mystery and unknown permeating the entire composition, like echoes from distant worlds already dead or yet to be, where the mystery of life and creation coils up everything. Significative and original sounds also the use of guitars in the prologue "Decadent Splendour", a bit in the vein of The Cure (those of "A Forest", to make it clear), to then slide into the gloomy finale of "The Fortress", somehow reminding of Popol Vuh, and triumphantly closing an album that, according to other reviews, represents a sort of manifesto for the Italian post-industrial sound.
- Marco S. - Filth Forge


Andrea Marutti (also of Amon, Never Known) and Giuseppe Verticchio (of Nimh) are the Italian duo behind this project. "Forgotten realm" is their second album. Through the five tracks on offer here Marutti and Verticchio shift from disturbing dark ambient to intense and post industrial drones.
The titles of the five tracks suggest that Marutti and Vericchio are taking us as tourists through the forgotten realm that they had built. From the ominous track "The Crossing", through "Gates of Namathur", "Among the Ruins" and finally to "The Fortress", the buildup of the music grows more and more intense. On the track "Among the Ruins" the listeners are being drowned inside metallic, post-industrial feed-back and drones, drilling through one's head until it is hard to remember a few sonic steps back. On earlier tracks, all we could hear was vague ambient rustle, followed by tense, yet soft guitars. Whatever the atmosphere is, Hall of mirrors keeps it musically interesting and highly professional.
Further listens to "Forgotten Realm" reveal more and sonic more details. Hall of Mirrors are smart enough to be too harsh to fall into the “Dark ambient”' genre and too dynamic to be simplified as a drone act. Instead, this album offers you a wide variety of perspective over a dark landscape that Marutti and Verticchio are excavating
- Oren Ben-Yosef - Musique Machine


Dronescaping through utterly maddening industrial noises and blissful (almost ritual/religious like) ethereal sounds.
Hall of Mirrors' "Forgotten Realm", 2009, presents both opposite sonic worlds to the extreme, which helps to enhance both fully , without diminishing their true power of expression by not blending these extreme electronic languages. Therefore the contrasts between tracks or sections are a constant which helps to enrich the sensation of witnessing both worlds objectively.
On the instrumental side this release's guitar work guides most of the heavenly like sections as the addition of flute and didgeridoo, while the field recordings bring in the earthly country side sensation and electronic noises move along their respective spectrum's colors from, the audible and the inaudible, White noise to Pink to Brown to Blue to Violet and Grey.
Creative musical ideas flow freely but it is impossible not to sense the perfectly tight music composition behind this solidly structured yet seeminly aleatoric, abstract and transparent dronescapes.
As far as the always hard task to rate by 5 numbers and adding also that I had already been aquainted, almost simultaneously, with this duo/ensemble's next future masterwork, I will strongly recommend it as an excellent addition to your electronic music collection and as a highly coherent, contemporary and original Prog-Electronic work by its own.
(Admireart/Alan - Progarchives)