Artefactum – Chaos elements

Untill some months ago I’d never heard of Artefactum from Poland. But recent split cdr’s on Beast of Prey (with Moan and Desiderii Marginis) and Old Europa Cafe (with Horologium) and their debut album “Chaos Elements” on the respected French label Athanor have put this ambient project around Merissa d’Erlette in the spotlights.

As often with Athanor releases, this album (which was already created in 2003) is not only interesting in its musical elements, there’s also a clear conceptual aspect. Chaos Elements has nice alchemical artwork and is dedicated to the four elements: earth, water, fire and air. Perhaps a concept that has been used before, but the always surprising elements never cease to stimulate our imagination.

The album contains six long tracks. There’s an introduction and a conclusion, and a track devoted to each element. In general the music can be described as ritual ambient, with deep drones, moody keyboard layers, organic sounds and repetive loops. The elements are used literally sometimes, like the watery sounds in ‘Aqua’.

The soundscapes of “Chaos Elements” are well-constructed and convey the right atmosphere. They’re relatively accessible and melodic, and contain enough variation, from the dark and mysterious ‘Terra’ to the floating and hypnotic ‘Aer’ or the dramatic classical sounds of ‘Ignis’. The female spoken vocals by Merissa give the opener ‘Aurora over Labyrinth’ and ending ‘Hermetic triumph’ an original, haunting touch. Artefactum proves certainly to be a project to follow.

artist: Artefactum
label: Athanor
details: cd, 6 tracks, 44 min, 2006 [ATNR030]