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The Hole In The Landscape is the latest album by Turku, Finland-based Tsembla, the solo alias of musician Marja Ahti, a frequent collaborator of the Kemialliset Ystävät musical collective and one half of the electro-acoustic duo Ahti & Ahti. As Tsembla, Ahti creates vivid, imaginative compositions of sound and rhythm using electronics and treated samples of recorded acoustic instruments, objects, voices, feedback, and environmental sounds. Following up 2015 's Terror & Healing, Tsembla's fourth album combines melodic and rhythmic narrative with rough-edged sound collage, creating a sense of gravitation, forward movement and friction by contrasting weightlessness with density. At the heart of Tsembla's compositions lies a distinctive and diverse palette of sounds, electronically processed and filtered to create a signature sound and feel with a unique sonic personality.
Across the album's 8 tracks, a tension between electronic synthesis and sampled acoustic sounds creates an inventive mixture of colorful playfulness and meditative starkness.The simplistic yet elegant use of melody is implemented thoughtfully to carry the delicate layers of electronics and samples along their voyage, uniting them into an abstracted whole. The frenetic, psychedelic density of Kemialliset Ystävät can be heard in these tracks, though Ahti's solo approach is more restrained and deliberate. Sounds are given enough space from each other to exist harmoniously alongside one another, with a tasteful amount of layering that allows the listener to focus on intentional clusters of brilliantly juxtaposed sounds, without feeling overwhelmed or bombarded.
A distinct influence of music from all across the globe can be heard, beyond the usual western scales and instrumentation; woodwinds, strings, percussion and ancient sounds from all corners of the earth are electronically synthesized to create unpredictable textural twists and turns. These incredibly dynamic resulting textures stimulate the brain in unexpected ways, and the metaphor of sonic texture for organic geological formations can be both heard and felt in the exquisite detail that Ahti is able to conjure in these compositions.