Moan – Isolate / Desolate / Mutate (Album – Zoharum)

By Oct 8,2020

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Genre/Influences: Dark-Ambient, Experimental.

Format: Digital, 2 CD.

Background/Info: Polish dark-ambient artist Rafal Sądej released the “Isolate”-album in 2000 and the “Desolate”-EP in 2002. Both productions were originally released as a CDR. Zoharum is a label that likes recovering some works from dust, bringing both releases back to life on one CD while the second disc entitled “Mutate” features eleven remixes.

Content: Moan is mixing pure dark-ambient music together with some experimental elements. The tracks are supported by obscure atmospheres rapidly leading the listener into an imaginary ghost world. From heavy thundering sounds to numerous field recordings the tracks reflect a world of horror. Some cuts have been accomplished with electronic arrangements.

The second disc features nearly exclusive previously unreleased remixes. Remixes have been accomplished a few years after the original release of “Isolate” and “Desolate”. The remixes have been done by Dead factory, Maciek Szymczuk (2 songs), Amon, Genetic Transmission, Job Karma, Syntax Error, Joanna & Another One, C.H.District, Blare For A and the last one by Moan.

+ + + : I first of all have to say a word about the great artwork of this digipak format, which became a trademark of Zoharum. But the content of this work is also a great listening –and discovery if you don’t know yet the original releases. Especially the “Isolate”-album is a great one. The songs have a strong visual strength, which totally matches with the Urbex pictures of the artwork. You get the impression visiting abandoned places where ghosts are walking through the corridors leading you to dark cellars. It creates a desolate universe, which is due to the impact of the sound.

Among the remixes I like the minimal approach of Maciek Szymczuk, the more electro-driven remix by Syntax Error, the somewhat heavenly remix of Joanna (for the great classically trained voice) & Another One plus the more industrial driven remix by Blare for A. 

– – – : If “Desolate” is a great work, “Desolate” can’t really convince me and sounds less inspired. The second disc takes off with several poorly inspired remixes.

Conclusion: There are some ‘older’ productions, which definitely deserve to get reactivated and that’s precisely what I felt with this Moan-album.

Best songs: “Work Report #356”, “When dReam Doesn’t Come”, “Quiescence”, “Endymion” + “Endymion – Remixed by Maciek Szymczuk”, “Quiescence – Joanna & Another One Remix”.

Rate: (7½).

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