ALBUM REVIEW: Eternell – ‘Imagined Distances’: fine, glimmering ambient drone

SOUND IN SILENCE is a label concerned with the liminal and ambient fringes of music. Operating out of Athens for nigh on a decade and a half, it can boast releases by artists such as blissed-back Italian shoegazers Port-Royal and out-hiphop producer and founder of Anticon, Odd Nosdam, among its catalogue of strictly limited physical releases.

And now the label is unveiling the second release from Sweden’s Eternell, the blissful and meditative recording project of Ludvig Cimbrelius.

Ludvig, based in Höör, a small town in the south of the country near the Danish border bridges, has a deep back catalogue, recording under a plethora of aliases such as Purl, Kokong, Alveol and Surr for a variety of imprints, as well as under his own birth name. His previous release for Sound in Silence, back in 2018, Still Light, was warmly received and has sold out. 

His new set, Imagined Distances, breaks little new ground in the genre: but do we need it to? Six blissfully long pieces total over an hour of sounsdcapery: of fluvial shift, sustained guitar drones and bass Rhodes bringing the aural warmth. Soft, blended background vocals hush and soothe.

Some contemporary ambient drone seeks the darker end of the emotional spectrum: the eerie, the lachrymose. If you will permit me the conceit of synaesthesia, the crossover and bleed of senses, wherein sound evokes colour, &c – much as employed by Aphex Twin for Selected Ambient Works Volume II – then Imagined Distances is definitely the bright refraction of sun on water: precise yet diffuse, glowing, uplifting, nourishing. I can hear the bright warmth of Kranky mainstays Windy & Carl, or Bvdub. And with tracks titles such as “Spiraling Light”, “Underwater Rays” and “Luminance”, I guess my response to Ludvig’s blissful odyssey is exactly as he intended.

Like most releases from Sound in Silence, the physical format of Imagined Distances comes in a handcrafted limited CD edition of just 200, packaged in a hand-stamped, heavyweight cream cardboard envelope with the front cover image printed on Polaroid-style photo paper. An insert sheet containing the tracklist comes on dusty pink cardboard. Naturally, you are supplied with a download code coupon. 

Imagined Distances and Sound in Silence perhaps aren’t names on everyone’s lips; and perhaps that should change. Like the Belgian Slaapwel imprint, it has a fascinating catalogue of abstruse, pretty, needfully artistic beauty for troubled times. 

Go for an exploration of the label at its Bandcamp page. Make sure you give Ludvig a little trade while you’re passing. I doubt you’ll regret it.

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