HARMONIC CROSS "The Grand Paradise" (Soundtrack)

By Dr. Abner Mality

I first encountered HARMONIC CROSS with their extraordinary album "It Is Finished", an instrumental and ambient work inspired by the mysterious "Tamam Shud" murder case in Australia. Although the band features members of the hardcore band BLEACH EVERYTHING, it could not be more different, creating lush, wordless sounds that were beautiful and enigmatic.

Now they return with this new work, the soundtrack to a film called "The Grand Paradise". The movie is unreleased at the time of my review, so I have no idea how it relates to this soundtrack. Each song is said to relate to the journey undertaken by the film's main character. All I can say is that HARMONIC CROSS have again created a kind of sound that is both peaceful and paradoxically noisy at the same time. I don't think there's a single drumbeat here at all. The songs are all based on washes of synthesizer tones and patterns of ambient noise.On the opening track "Nature", a rising tide of noise and static eventually drowns out the soothing tones, much as the creations of mankind are drowning out the natural world, I suspect.

Each of the tunes relates to some emotional quality or mental trait. "Apatheia" opens with the ghostly sounds of 20's Dixieland jazz coming across a great distance before it is swallowed in more engulfing tones. The longest track "Pleasure" is dense and full of gradually overlapping cosmic sounds. Many of the tunes have a spacy component to them and you can often hear winds coming from the furthest reaches of the universe.

Not metal or rock in the slightest, but there is something about this project that really reaches deep inside me. Fans of THOMAS KONER, WILLIAM BASINSKI and even BRIAN ENO will find a lot to ponder in HARMONIC CROSS and "The Grand Paradise".