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Book Of Illusions: Chapter I

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Book Of Illusions: Chapter I
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: 2001
Label: Self Released
Genre: Ambient, Black, Doom
1. Kano
2. Freedom To Fly
3. Behold The Night || Beyond Sunsets
4. Timeless
5. 3 in 5
6. Drift
7. Stark

Review by Krys on May 29, 2002.

VLE is a new ambient solo artist out of NYC whose music, based on the publicity information, was almost completely improvised during the recording process. Upon reading this, I figured that either he’s really that good or incredibly arrogant, not to say stupid. After listening to the album I can definitely scratch ‘stupid’, but a little extra work during the whole production process wouldn’t hurt either.

“Book of Illusions” is largely ambient keyboard-ridden instrumental music combining the elements of experimental noise, metal riffing and an array of vocals ranging from growls to whispers. The music itself experiments with different sounds and genres; fusing them all together into something I can’t really put a tag on. Not that I have to but after mixing music styles like classical, dark ambient, noise, black, doom, stoner... the only way it could be simply described is mood music. But to complicate that simplification, it’s not just one mood but a whole array... sadness, shame, loss, and happiness, often at the same time.

As stated above, what stops “Book of Illusions” from being a very successful release is production. Even though I can greatly respect the artist’s decision to record the whole body of work in an improvised manner with no re-recording or appropriate mixing work, obvious mistakes such as sudden cutoffs or certain parts playing off time make this record a less than flawless listening experience and at times even irritates. If sound quality doesn’t disturb you, “Book of Illusions” is definitely a keeper.

Bottom Line: Very interesting, raw but satisfying album for everyone looking for something different.

Categorical Rating Breakdown

Musicianship: 6
Atmosphere: 9
Production: 4
Originality: 9
Overall: 8

Rating: 7.2 out of 10