Friday, August 21, 2020

Album Review: Debris of Nostalgia by Acheloo

Acheloo is the recording alias of Italian ambient composer and guitarist Carlo Luzi, whose music I initially discovered in early 2018 with his 2017 album Ethereal. Titled Debris of Nostalgia, Acheloo’s latest full-length release is comprised of nine hauntingly beautiful soundscapes filled with mystery and melancholy. Written, produced, mixed and mastered by Luzi, who also designed the album’s cover artwork, Debris of Nostalgia features luminously drifting electric guitar figures and sparsely shimmering piano notes, which are carried along throughout by expanding clouds of quasi-cinematic permeance.

The profoundly affecting compositions are quietly understated yet emotionally intense, a characteristic that is perhaps best exemplified on “Distant Sign”, which perfectly captures how a piece of music can be so subtly simple yet magnificently moving. Softly rolling in and out like an ocean tide, the main repeating chord figure of this unforgettably gorgeous passage conveys a poignant comfort and mysterious longing that washes over the senses, as shadowy tonal atmospheres materialize like rising mists from the sea.

The album’s use of the word “nostalgia” effectively conjures both a relative personal past and ancient mythical past, as such is the case with the mesmerizing farewell, “Underworld”, which exceptionally embodies this quality. Evocative of entering a gateway to another realm, metallically shimmering guitar notes peer through towering icy blasts, which can be likened to sailing on a cold sea through a mountainous strait, as we are briefly met by a hauntingly disembodied echo that beckons from the amorphous ambient fog.

Easily a top contender for the year's finest ambient recording, Debris of Nostalgia immediately captivated my ears upon first listen and has only increasingly enamored me over the past few months. A crowning achievement for Acheloo, the minimalistic elegance and aching sense of yearning the compositions convey puts me in a similar headspace as Harold Budd’s outstanding classic The White Arcades – a compliment of the highest order! ~Candice Michelle 

Available at Amazon and Bandcamp. For more information please visit the artist's website.