AUN – Alpha/Heaven (2013)

AUN’s 8th full length album soon to be released on the Denovali record label, Alpha/Heaven.


There was an interesting discussion that I was reading earlier today about the amount of time that people seemed to think was necessary to sink into an album before coming to a conclusion. It’s something I’ve thought about a lot and something I’ve yet to decide upon; I make it mandatory to listen to an album at least 3 times before a rating/review but sometimes I feel this isn’t enough, especially when I feel that I have to force an album upon myself (ie, review submissions). Some of the time I’m introduced to albums I really love right off the bat and am happy to plug a lot of time into, other times I’m not so sure.

I’m going to come out and say it, there’s not point beating around the bush here, I don’t like this album, and that’s ok. I can’t like everything and I’ve made clear that this site is nothing more than personal opinion as opposed to critical review. Perhaps it is, as I have mentioned, due to the lack of time I’ve invested in this album that I don’t appreciate it fully, but I feel that, at the present moment, this album is relatively unremarkable and, frankly, boring.

AUN does an alright job at invoking atmopshere throughout, it must be said, but what I feel he isn’t so good at is maintaining a level of consistency and interest. This album is an hour long and during that time I very rarely feel emotionally invested in what this album has to say. As it stands at the moment, I have no idea what the overwhelming theme or concept of this release actually is. Some tracks, like “Vulcan”, “La Luna” and “Voyager” seem to point towards a more alien and spacious affair, employing fractured, disjointed vocals, thin electronic drones and oscillating synths. “La Luna” stands out in particular with its minimal, ethereal echoes and delicate construction, as well as the opposing closer “Return To Jupiter” which comes across surprisingly strong throughout its 10 minute duration in its rapidly rising and falling quavering synth notes and driven percussion.

But there is another side to this album that doesn’t really fit into that whole space ethos; the opener “Koenig” and much of the tracks that immediately follow it (“Returna”, “War Is Near”, “Viva”) don’t exactly match that aesthetic and either simply cruise along and not do anything in particular or add to the atmopshere (“Returna”), or move in completely opposing directions as they introduce beat structures and rhythms (“Viva”). Which makes no sense considering the rest of the album seems to take the tack of, as previously mentioned, this space-exploration/alien theme. Perhaps this is what the title alludes to; Alpha and Heaven as opposed to Alpha and Omega? Religious ideologies in the first half vs scientific in the latter? I’m not sure.

What I suppose I’m trying to say in a roundabout, extremely wordy sort of way is that I don’t feel like there’s a solid, continuous, logical train of thought throughout this release. Ok, there are some tracks that more than make up for the rather lacklustre beginning (especially the closer and the beautiful interlude of “Peacecalm”) but I can’t help feel that AUN is, like I am now, waffling a little bit. It’s a long album and I don’t feel compelled to listen to it, it’s one of the albums I’ve been putting off all week. It’s frustrating to think that there are such gems in it like “Return To Jupiter” when the album as a unified whole is pretty uninspiring. It is what it is, make of it what you will but I found myself bored and distracted throughout.