Ari Porki has just released Dimension, his first album with the Hungarian netlabel Limitless. Over eight tracks spanning 53 minutes, Ari channels the northern seasons of his native Finland. Like his predecessor, Jean Sibelius, he skillfully evokes their extremes of warmth and cold, darkness and light.
Played mostly on synths, Dimension is mostly beatless and all atmospheric. Each piece is just one richly-textured droning chord, immersive and engaging – “ambient power chords”, if you like, which could go on forever. When the chords sound this good, one is enough.
Cinclus opens the album with a full-bodied, metallic-organ, enveloping drone chord, shimmering like brightly-polished copper. Organ textures move within it, and a buried, thrumming pulse. It’s a strong opening to an album with no weak spots.
Neva hits us like a cold winter sunrise, breathing in the frosty air, a rich chord unfolding and withdrawing. Fieldfares is similarly cold, but dark – windy and menacing on a cloudy, moonless night.
By contrast, Stronghold is warm, full of light, peaceful, teeming with energy but nonetheless serene. Courtship is breathy and fleeting, like chittering pan flutes, singing a happy mellow chord.
Rowlock is shimmering, glassy and refractive, sweeping like the play of sunlight on a melting river chock-full of ice bits.
Daymark is my favorite, evoking the northern lights, splendid dancing colors on a pitch-black palette of endless, roaring depth. Awe-inspiring, huge and majestic, this night sky is Ari’s cathedral. The colors slowly writhe, airy and eerie.
Trails closes out the album with the stark, muted light of sunset and a heartbeat-like thumping rhythm. The day is winding down. Night is not merely the end of day, but a promise of waiting discoveries.
If you haven’t heard Ari’s work, this album is just such a discovery. Hypnotic and attractive, swirling all around, all of these pieces would make outstanding film/video soundtracks.
The artwork, by Zsuzsanna Domos, more than prepares you for the listening experience, with its explosion of violent, guttural colors and scratched-up texture, over a photo of a roughed-up seashore. We can see, as we hear throughout the album, the beauty and the fury of the deep north.
Dimension is available for free download from the Limitless netlabel. Highly recommended!