2006 Reissue in Digipak. Vidna Obmana and Italian soundsculptor Alio Die unite their vision and realized this introspective work of sixty minutes. At times droning and abstract, sometimes ritualistic and ethnic. "Echo Passage clearly lives up to the reputations of Obmana and Musso while offering both ample opportunity to work outside of their ordinary parameters" - Adam M. Bialek / Outburn (USA)
vidnaObmana : Electronics, loops, recycling and various acoustics.
Alio Die : Samples, treatments, textures and drones.
Originally released on Musica Maxima Magnetica, 1999.
A review from AmbiEntrance:
Flutey bursts, whispy shimmers, and the organic glistenings of trickling sands mark the entryway. It doesn't take long amongst these unusual textures to realize the previous world is now gone, and who needed it anyway... it's much more lovely here. A long, long stretch of rich multi-layered drones with no interruptions or percussive effects is eventually visited upon by sparse instances of faraway birdlike hoots and chatter as the soundwaves become more subdued and darker. More organics emerge as a fizzy/bubbly current flows through these parts, and a powerful surging entity begins to periodically pulse in long, low tones. Everything returns to an airier, calmer state... for the time being at least.
At the halfway point, those sonic molecules begin to shadow and thicken, becoming more ominous, like a mechanical wind, though still suffused with choirlike threads of unearthly beauty. The turbulence grows; faint, unidentifiable ripples are heard through the chasmic howl. Cyclonic murk surrounds with distant vocal mutations and thin chimes occasionally lighting the way, leading into a realm of almost-silence.
A thin drone blows in to be joined by mutedly brassy blares. Sporadic bird chirps add an Earthly touch to the otherwise unnatural atmospheres. A radiant haze begins to coalesce, swirling with gossamer strands, delicate yet powerful, gaining accompaniment from a two-tone counterpoint which temporarily fades away. Magical swells convolve around each other in strangely symphonic patterns, dancing like celestial auroras, wondrous to behold. All dissipates in the end, vanishing like the enchanting dreamworld it was...
Echo Passage contains all the audio awe-inspiration you would expect from a musical meeting between Vidna Obmana and Alio Die. The extended length and expertly rendered atmospheres are perfectly suited for long, deep immersions into abstract time and place. Go there! An 8.9!
A review from Music TAP:
Perhaps one of the broadest, most expansive styles of music would be ambient. With ambient music, you can create a large array of emotionally charged music that can travel all roads. Much of dance-oriented music is purely ambient as it utilizes a steady rhythm of beats to underscore the layer of music that it carries. Carrying over to other ambient styles, you can create worlds of oceanic bliss found in organic soothers or, as in the cases of Alio Die and vidnaObmana, worlds of chaos, unrest, destruction, and a strong foreboding sense of the unknown.
Both of these personas usually work alone, creating very unique worlds of depth found entrenched in their darkly shadowed soundscapes. Both produce enduring images more frightening than film can produce largely because they operate within the working engines of one’s fiercely independent mind. The listener can develop a movie within that will disturb and unnerve him/her far more effectively than any filmmaker can rattle whole audiences.
Projekt Records have reissued the 1999 joint effort by two of the more diabolical soundmasters known in ambience circles. Echo Passage, before released on MMM (Musica Maxima Magnetica), is a collaborative work between the previously mentioned purveyors of mysteries. Echo Passage consists of three conceptually related pieces that you notice a change only by the changes in texture. The three pieces blend well together and unfold elegantly. The second piece releases the chirp of a bird into a mechanically intense environment, a string of beauty in a weathered cloth. It all softens into a low drone before reawakening into the third track as a work of motion and effect. The new digipak features a new graphic cover, done by Black Tape for a Blue Girl and Projekt's Sam Rosenthal. It is available via mail-order, revitalizing a highly sought after out-of-print title.
Music listeners who are hesitant or cautious about this kind of music can be assured if they have, in the past, enjoyed the ambient likes of Pink Floyd and their progressive ability to shore up their high impact lyrics with a higher impact sound effect or series of sound effects. Bands like Pink Floyd (and others) led to experimental ambient leaders like Tangerine Dream, Michael Hoenig, and to other extents, Mike Oldfield (Tubular Bells, Ommadawn, Hergest Ridge) and even Kraftwerk (Autobahn, The Model.) While the dark and richly layered music that fills the reissued Echo Passage is somewhat repetitive and droning, you’re sure to visit an extraordinary place that I haven’t seen…and it might be thrillingly fantastic.
Let go… 4 out of 5 stars. -Matt Rowe