Arcane Voidsplitter

Album Title: 
Voice Of The Stars
Release Date: 
Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Review Type: 

What will the stars tell us?…

Introduction, part one …

Stijn Van Cauter is a very sympathetic guy, but he’s also a talented musician. I adore about all acts he’s involved with – some more than others, yet I think he’s a notoriety within the worldwide (Funeral-oriented) Doom scene. Some names: Until Death Overtakes Me, Inframonolithium, Beyond Black Void, The Sad Sun – enfin, I can sum up two hands full of projects (often solo) that I like, seen from aural point of view.

Introduction, part two …

Stu Gregg is a very sympathetic guy, but he’s also a talented label owner. I adore about all acts his label is involved with – some more than others, yet I think he’s a notoriety within the worldwide Doom scene. Some names: Of Spire And Throne, Esoteric, Mekigah, Mourning Dawn – enfin, I can sum up two hands full of bands and projects that I like, seen from aural point of view.

The symbiosis of this story’s protagonists…

Arcane Voidsplitter is another solo outfit by Stijn, aka SVC. He started this project to ‘catch a glimpse of the vast fictional universe wherein the Arcane Voidsplitter floats. Where the droning of the stars reverberates off the boundaries of reality, creating an endless ebb and flow of interfering waves, strengthening, tempering, forging a single voice heard differently everywhere. A story unendingly in flux, unfolding across all dimensions… The album Voice Of The Stars is a three-tracker, following 2017’s To Reach Beyond, clocking over an hour (indeed, the average length of each composition is impressive), and showing, once again, a different side of this artist’s craftsmanship, yet recognizable once more. The physical album appears in a digipack edition with cosmic / astral artwork – cool and very brain-teasing, sci-fi and magic. And hey, this visual part totally fits to the sonic side of Voice Of The Stars. The album got released recently via, as you could have guessed, Aesthetic Death, and seen the quality it does fit to this label’s roster for sure!

The wonderful content; here the story continues…

Voice Of The Stars goes on where To Reach Beyond entered the vast outer-space dimensions. The new quest brings us to three stars far away, three gigantic celestial bodies, which make our own solar system look like a dot. It reminds me of our futile existence, and the arrogance of man, for mankind thinks to rule, for mankind is the cause of our own planet’s destruction, for our arrogance is pathetic seen our kickshaw-existence. Oops, I have to control myself. However, stars like Arcturus, Betelgeuse and Aldebaran remind me of our nihility and pettiness. Vanity of the human race and [self-censorship]…

Anyway, as from the very first notes of Arcturus (as a star, very bright at night, it is part of the so-called Boötes constellation), the typifying performance style of SVC shows its (pretty) face. With this track (14:23, and therefor the ‘shortest’ piece on the album!), the musician creates a semi-esoteric and dreamlike construction, basically based on a huge layer of keyboard lines. These melodies are slow, multi-layered, with at the same time a somewhat sad and desolate atmosphere, and at the other one a transcendental, even levitating attitude. Despite the doomy approach, there is a lot to experience, for in a subtle way, this track permanently progresses. The floaty synths are accompanied by low-tuned, little harsh guitar lines, heavily droning, painting the definition of eternal and pristine untouchedness through sonic ambience.

Comparable, yet even more explorative, is Betelgeuse (as star, Betelgeuse is a gigantic red giant, being part of Orion, and even brighter than Arcturus), which lasts for thirty-five minutes (!). Here too, the foundation is built on long-stretched synth-based soundscapes, strengthened by that characteristic string section. The monotony of the guitar drones and the ethereal essence of the keyboards are so finely combined – a symbiosis that defines the contrast in between equilibrium and chaos in the universe. Abyssal growls give the whole a somewhat funereal touch (not a stranger to Stijn’s projects), adding a sinister, oppressive hint of loss and, in a humble way, triviality and insignificance (no, I promise not to delve into my deepest disrespect for man’s pathetic parochialism). You sense the waves of our Cosmos, and it makes you feel part of it too, for some reason, despite the knowledge / acknowledgement of our void / null being. Notwithstanding the extended length of this track, you might not get bored at all, for the complete soundwave permanently catches, twists and captures. And somehow this track contains a certain epicism too, secretly and modestly, yet revealing its epic structures when endurance and persuasion offer a certain mental manifestation. Especially towards the end, the listener might be subject to it.

The last piece, Aldebaran (15:28; part of the Taurus constellation, also known as Alpha Tauri, by the way – but hey, for all additional information of star constellations and related stuff, there’s the library and internet), is the most mesmerizing and integer one out of three. Here too, long-wave keyboard lines, performed through different layers, carry the listener away to, or through, unexplored worlds far beyond, where endlessness and nothingness exist in an eternal equilibrium. The ‘movement’ here is remarkable, for the initial intimacy and integrity subtly evolve into a more outspoken and extravert identity, still maintaining that starry-eyed (got it?) and floaty sentimental core. It makes you wonder whether the light of the stars is real, or is it just imagination. Is the cosmos an expanding organ-like matter, or is it just a dream?

Do not expect a hyper-kinetic and energetic adventure, for Void Of The Stars is like the opposite. Yet still, in a magnificent way, this album is an adventure, not lubricous yet rather elegant and subdued. The energy appears within the state of mind, at the same time creating both mental tranquillity and inquisitive impulsiveness.

Wade in, and let the music engulf you. Join the post-dimensional journey through the unknown… Submerge to this story told across all dimensions

[PS: some more reviews on some of Stijn’s projects will follow soon; and the very same goes for Aesthetic Death, evidently]