NGC 4414 – Aura

ngc 4414This November cassette/digital download release from solo artist NGC 4414 will absorb you and your surroundings like an audio black hole. The deeper you go into these seven tracks, the more ominous your world will grow. No matter if you’re on a park bench enjoying the sunshine or hunkered down in a windowless basement. This album isn’t just mood altering; it’s perspective shifting.

While fairly classified as a drone recording, Aura has greater depth than that. Imagine the suspense-filled moments before every scary sequence in every horror movie you’ve ever seen. Multiply it by 35 minutes, and you have a sense of this cassette’s weight.

“Skybell” is among the highlights. Field recordings are introduced to paint a vivid, other-worldly picture. While every bit as tense as the rest of the album, this one is more intricate. It serves as the album’s centrepoint, if not its climax.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the album’s longest work is entitled “Grief.” It is near-empty in comparison to the tracks that precede it. The 11-minute pure drone piece introduces additional, gentle elements toward the end. But for the most part, the track suits its title perfectly.

It’s easy to imagine Aura coming out of an impoverished small town somewhere in Eastern Europe. It is the sort of magnificent, heart-breaking recording that often comes out of meager or otherwise difficult personal circumstances.

And while I can’t share meaningful details on the background of the anonymous NGC 4414, I can report that he is not European. He lives and works in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Kevin Press                

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