Dura: Vivarium/Solarium (Aural Canyon, 2019)
Dura is a Maryland based ambient project and is the masterwork of Mattson Ogg. Releasing music since 2013 under the Dura moniker, Ogg creates long form pieces that transport the listener into those moments where R.E.M. sleep is most potent. Constructing deeply meditative drones, he deftly utilizes slight variation and textural moments to give his pieces movement. At the beginning of 2019, Aural Canyon released two pieces from Ogg entitled “Vivarium” and “Solarium”, the sides A and B to the cassette release. Over twenty minutes in length each, Ogg mesmerizes the listener into a sleepy, trans-like state.
“Vivarium” begins as a languid, slightly rattled hum calling the hearer to participate in what is to follow. It is soon joined by a glacial drone that fills out the aural space. The layers slowly, patiently begin to be added as both textural and sonic pieces fill out the landscape with high-end siren like sounds and droning, deep tones. At about 11 minutes, the tones begin a massive dance and then some fade as guitar reverberates and a deep drone takes center stage. This begins the second movement of “Vivarium” which sees Ogg introduce almost spacey, sci-fi tones. This culminates in a layered storm of trance inducing layers that devolves into a singular siren like wail.
“Solarium” begins with a low, abiding hum that swells and fades and swells again. Tones lift off from the surface of the drone, rising and falling like sonic, slow-moving spires. “Solarium” is subtler and more spacious. As the spires stand and fall, a background texture is introduced which sounds like a small hitting of strings. Then, a very simple melody on guitar comes into the soundscape. This occurs about halfway through the piece. A much fuller acoustic guitar enters the mix, grounding a layered science fiction piece and giving it a more organic feel. The guitars then glisten as they reverberate and begin to shine and sparkle. This leads into the eventual fade and the end of the album.
Dura presents two long form tracks in “Vivarium/Solarium”. The album is captivating, beautiful, and texturally rich. Ogg isn’t new to the scene and the richness of his compositions demonstrate his practiced aesthetic. Drifting and every evolving, these two pieces move the listener, not just to thoughtful introspection, but also emotively. Pick up a copy at Aural Canyon’s Bandcamp today on limited cassette or digital.
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