REVIEWS – Subheim: Approach

Subheim: Approach Chain DLK -

Subheim’s debut “Approach” offers a laidback down tempo sound that cohesively incorporates an array of musical influences such as EBM, IDM, classical, ambient, and dronology. Haling from Greece, Subheim is the output of musician and graphic artist Kostas K with occasional contributions from female vocalist Katja. “Approach’s” sound can best described as a mixture between Delerium’s early forays into dark electronic soundscapes and Brian Eno’s piano driven ambient compositions such as “Discreet Music” and “Thursday Afternoon.” Subheim tastefully blends conventional and electronic music elements into a rich yet subtle sound that is built upon carefully layering a variety of simple parts. Furthermore, Kostas K manages to use electronics in a way that sounds very organic and fluid, which gives the music some emotion. Some of the more evocative pieces on the album include “Ybe 76,” which is a melds ambient soundscapes and down-tempo EBM beats with simple yet elegant piano line and “Stranded,” which uses ethereal ambient strong arrangements to create a melancholic sense of isolation and despair. Another interesting aspect of Subheim’s sound is that when the female vocals are employed, they are done so in a very subdued way that simply makes it another instrument that feeds into the wall of sound that Kostas K creates as is made evident on the track “Howl.” I would highly recommend this album to anyone who likes down-tempo electronica, ambient and world music.


RE:Gen Magazine -Frigid atmospheres amid layers of synthetic melodies and lonesome voices to create a lovely tapestry of downtempo IDM.The head of Spectraliquid, Kostas K. is the brain behind Subheim, presenting a dazzlingly introspective display of lush ambience fused with IDM percussive manipulations. When first listening to Approach, beginning with the stuttering rhythm of “Hush,” creeping up to the listener like a panicked heartbeat, we immediately see signs of Subheim’s wintry power, as electronic crickets appear in the sonic distance amid swells of icy pads that will surely have the listener reaching for the nearest blanket. The rest of the album follows very much in a similar fashion, as bitcrushed beats and subtle distortions hover about such tracks as “Away” and “Stranded,” reverberating for what seems like an eternity, creating a cavernous effect that immediately puts the listener in a state of slight unease. This unease is only vaguely comforted by the familiar refrains of a piano on “Ybe 76″ and “Away,” but even then the brief passages are so lonesome in tone that it sends chills down the spine. A series or disjointed voices that permeates through “Intact” continues to enhance the melancholy, but it is especially aided by the ghostlike vocals of Katja on “Howl,” “Hollow,” and “Voces Perdidas.” Her vocals float in the mix, layering upon itself to create an angelic beauty that is at once enticing and haunting, similar to Lisa Gerrard’s Middle-Eastern inflections in Dead Can Dance. To close out Approach, we have two remixes by Mobthrow and Flaque for the tracks “Hollow” and “One Step Before the Exit,” respectively. Alas, while the remixes are not bad in an of themselves, they do little to enhance the flavor of the original, retaining the cold ambient progressions and adding little more than some synth warbles and a greater emphasis on the beat structures, although they are rather interesting if not entirely impressive. Subheim presents to listeners a deep and rich tapestry of frigid soundscapes befitting the cold serenity of the album’s photography, depicting waves upon the beach under a cloudy sky – much like the music itself, as waves of synthesized atmospheres wax and wane in the mix, beneath clouds of droning melodies. It’s not the most astounding album in the world, but it does prove that Kostas K. is capable of creating an audio/visual cornucopia of downtempo IDM wonder.


Headphone Commute -I first came across Tympanik Audio, a Chicago based label with the dark electronic roster, late in 2007, with their first double compilation release, Emerging Organisms. In the first months of 2008, I reviewed an intelligent rhythmic industrial album by Totakeke, ELekatota. But with this fourth catalog release, I can shamelessly proclaim that Tympanik has struck gold. With the release of Approach, Tympanik is quickly gaining momentum to the ranks of the beloved Hymen and Ad Noiseam. Subheim is the brainchild of Greek composer, Kostas K, whose complete biography is shadowed by the haunting sounds and occasional sighing voices of Katja. The organic elements of piano, cello, and ambient atmospheres are struck with slow building crispy beats and bitcrushed digital sounds. Approach is Subheims debut album. It perfectly encompasses all of my favorite elements: orchestral, cinematic, dark, crunchy, rhythmic, and extremely musical. “Moved by subjects such as urban isolation and the outburst of mankind’s deepest emotions, Subheim delivers the ideal soundtrack for those moments of chaos or melancholy reflections.” After half a dozen listens and consequtive ratings of five stars on my playlist, I give up and throw my hands in the air. I refuse to rate music with numbers, so hopefully these words will speak for themselves, as I attempt to contain my excitement for Subheim. Being filed right along my top favorite artists in the genre, Architect, Kattoo, Hecq, Lusine Icl, Arovane, Gridlock and Aaron Spectre. Highly recommended! Do not miss this next step in evolution of electronic music.
 


Igloo Mag -Subheim’s new release (Approach) on the ever-expanding Tympanik Audio covers an area seeded with harsh landscapes derived from torrential undercurrents and post-industrial beatwork. Tympanik Audio, a contender to labels like Hymen/Ant-Zen has been extremely focused on dark experiments in sound and Subheim is no exception. The two tracks featured on D::N #283, “One Step Before The Exit” and “Stranded,” are both drenched in darkened extraterrestrial soundscapes fuelled by elevated ambient propulsion and sharp, metallic beats; perfect.


Elektrauma -Das griechische Projekt offenbart uns auf seinem Output etwas ganz Besonderes: Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit. Die Synthesizer schmiegen sich in die Gehörgänge wie Samt und Seide, sie wirken unaufdringlich und dennoch eindringlich zugleich. Kontemplativ präsentieren die Stücke elektronische Klangerzeugung. Es geht hier nicht darum, den Hörer durch schnelle Beats oder treibende Sequenzen zu pushen. Vielmehr laden die Stücke zu einer inneren Reise ein. Die schleppenden, aber dennoch gewaltigen Rhythmen wie beispielsweise bei „Howl” werden dazu von Geigen und mysteriösem Gesang unterstützt. Das, was man geläufig als Trip Hop oder Ambient bezeichnet, hat hier eine besondere Qualität erhalten. Die Songs erhalten ihre Dynamik durch das Aufeinanderprallen von experimentellen Drumprogrammings und breiten Flächen. Subheim hat sich viele Gedanken zu den Stücken machen müssen, anders kann man den Hang zur Perfektion und die reichhaltige Ausstaffierung der Lieder nicht deuten. Dennoch wirkt „Approach” keineswegs zu überladen oder detailverliebt. Der Musiker weiß instinktiv, wann er Elemente einfügen und wann rauslassen muss. Knapp eine Stunde dauert diese Reise. Und am Ende ist man wieder drauf und dran, noch mal von Vorne anzufangen. „Approach” ist Entspannung, ist Meditation, ist Bewusstwerden, ist Sein.
 


Darkroom Magazine -Il musicista greco Kostas K., già noto nel campo delle arti visive, debutta col suo progetto IDM/downtempo Subheim grazie all’attenzione della Tympanik Audio, piccola ed agguerrita etichetta dell’Illinois che si sta velocemente facendo largo presso i seguaci della ‘intelligent digital music’. E quello dell’artista di Atene è un esordio che colpisce positivamente sin dal primo ascolto: fra i ritmi spezzati e tipicamente IDM che creano la struttura dei vari brani si muovono con assoluta eleganza melodie convincenti e raffinate, e tra i rintocchi di piano, le sontuose sortite di violoncello e dei synth capaci di generare suoni emozionanti fa sporadicamente capolino la bella voce di Katja, altra artista ateniese le cui performance stanno impreziosendo i lavori di svariati musicisti. L’abilità nel miscelare alla perfezione ritmi secchi ed incisivi (mai troppo invasivi e sempre assolutamente funzionali) e suoni di tale pregio è l’arma in più di un artista che sa come costruire una canzone, come dimostrano momenti di grande livello quali “Ybe 76″, “One Step Before The Exit”, “Away” (che parte macchinosa e tenue per poi prendere ritmo con assoluta maestria) e “Stranded”, ma sono i frangenti nei quali è presente la voce di Katja ad impressionare maggiormente, come ci rivelano l’orientaleggiante perla “Howl” (vero apice del dischetto), la cupa “Hollow” e la più delicata “Voces Perdidas”. Non certo fondamentali ma comunque apprezzabili i due remix posti in chiusura, rispettivamente a firma Mobthrow e Flaque, che poco aggiungono al buon lavoro svolto da Kostas. L’artista greco, in virtù di un sound fresco, curatissimo, emozionante, superbamente architettato ed ottimamente arrangiato, nonché mirabilmente esaltato da una produzione eccellente, si segnala quindi all’attenzione dei seguaci delle sonorità IDM/downtempo con un lavoro di gran pregio – ben confezionato in un elegante digipak – che ha tutte le carte in regola per sedurre chi dall’elettronica chiede anzitutto gusto ed intelligenza, e noi azzardiamo un pronostico: se il Nostro continuerà su questa strada, magari ampliando la collaborazione con Katja, in breve tempo riuscirà ad entrare nel gotha del settore, magari insidiando da vicino realtà quali Flint Glass, Displacer e compagnia bella. Noi vi abbiamo avvisati: “Approach” non è solo un ottimo esordio, ma anche il primo passo di un artista del quale sentiremo di certo ancora parlare.


Gothtronic -”In this world a man himself means nothing,” is the opening message of this new album from Subheim. The slow and melancholic opening is followed by ‘ybe 76′ which contains more electronic beats and steps away from the more common dark ambient sound. The piano tune is perfectly supported by these beats, so you get a dancable ambient song. ‘One Step Before the Exit’ only starts to become interesting after the first half of the song has passed, here the electronic sounds enter to deviate from the background sound displayed before. The second half of the track makes up for the first by being very creative and variable. The cello, violins, and vocals in ‘Howl’ make this song stand out from the rest of the album, which mainly makes use of piano and electronic beats. Subheim shows that this certainly is not the only method they can create superb songs. ‘Hollow’ sounds exactly as the title describes, the wailing female vocals create a feeling of being left in an underground room where only some strangely distorted sounds from the outside reach. Rightly so this track appears again as a remix at the end of the album. The last new track of the album is ‘Voces Perdidas’ in which some words are sung once again, bombastic drums create the bass rhythm, enlightened once more by the piano.Subheim has managed to create a very variable ambient album in which they show to be capable with both electronic sounds as well as more classical instruments. The two remixes on the album are of tracks which certainly deserve to be remixed. All in all a good debut album which maybe even has the possibility to dance on a few of the tracks. A quality not often found in dark ambient music.


Der Medienkonverter -Griechenland mausert sich so langsam aber sicher zu einer Quelle guter elektronischer Musik, denn die dort ansässigen Künstler treten in letzter Zeit vermehrt in den Vordergrund. Einer der Gründe dafür ist das Label Spectraliquid aus Athen, dessen Mitbegründer Kostas K nun ebenfalls mit seinem Projekt Subheim und dessen Debütalbum “Approach” in die Öffentlichkeit tritt. Allerdings erscheint “Approach” nicht bei Spectraliquid, wo er bereits auf dem Sampler “Konkrete” zu hören war, sondern bei Tympanik Audio.Subheims Musik ist im Downtempo angesiedelt, wo sie zwischen Ambient, IDM und sogar ein wenig Heavenly Voices pendelt. Letzteres ist vor allem Gastsängerin Katja geschuldet, die dreien der Tracks ihre Stimme lieh und ihnen einen geheimnisvollen Anstrich gibt. Die entsprechende und passende Mystik erschafft Subheim bereits mit seiner Musik. Streicher, Piano, ausgedehnte und hallende Synthies sowie allerhand komplexe Rhythmik vereinen sich zu einem melancholischen Gesamtbild. Das ist bisweilen schwer und fast traurig, leicht und verträumt oder gar manchmal poppig. Deshalb erscheint “Approach” auch nie zu schwer verdaulich, sondern setzt vielmehr auf eine subtile Spannung. Es ist schon erstaunlich, woher Kostas K im sonnigen Griechenland diese Musik zaubert, die man doch eher in mehr nördlicheren Regionen verorten würde.Die Atmosphäre wird auch mal gern durch in einander verwobene Beats verstärkt, die nicht als Konterpart zum langsamen und melodischen Teil ausgelegt sind, sondern die Eindrücke noch intensivieren. Schön, dass sich auch die Remixe von Mobthrow und Flaque dem Gesamtbild des Albums anpassen. Unnötig zu erwähnen, dass diese beiden Projekte jeweils bei Spectraliquid und Tympanik Audio vertreten sind. Damit glänzt “Approach” in seiner Gesamtheit als kleines, audiophiles Meisterwerk der sanfteren Töne. 


Reflections Of Darkness -Introduction Hailing from Athens is Kostas K’s project SUBHEIM. Kostas is also the co-founder of the brand new Greek label Spectraliquid which promotes innovative art & music and hosts events with important artists from the experimental scene around the globe, The first musical appearance of SUBHEIM was the track ‘Howl’ released on the first Spectraliquid compilation in December 2007. ‘Approach’ is the title of the very first SUBHEIM album which has been released at the beginning of April on Tympanik Audio.Track Review01. Hush – 3:12
The synthetic sound, resembling a racing heartbeat serves as lead-in and into the world of ‘Hush’, a world filled with crackling tones and reverbs. A dull, stuttering beat comes in from afar and stays barely audible, while clouds of haze made of icy atmospheres climb up your body.

02. Ybe 76 – 4:43
‘Ybe 76′ introduces a howling wind, just like the one that’s wafting around an old abandoned house in a dark cold night. A piano, bringing the sound of melancholy breaks through this creepy atmosphere. Then it’s suddenly gone to get replaced by a looped sequence of bit crushed synths. When it finally comes in again, it’s not alone anymore but gets accompanied by a full-grown strong beat and the beauty of widely layered cascades of melody.

03. One Step before the Exit – 5:10
Wrapped inside a coat if long-stretched, layered strings and distant melodies and voices, this song starts. The experimental and somehow metallic rhythm which follows soon afterwards seems to develop its own life if one just listens to it long enough. It’s just like its changing the pace at own will, running against the remaining arrangement but then it just stoops at a certain point to make way to a more harsh underground of drums with subdued distortion effects turning into a rhythmical network of reverberating beats in the end.

04. Howl – 7:32
A seemingly endless room opens up, a room full of darkness, spherical sounds and deep drones. It could have stayed like this for me the whole song but I have to admit that the use of the slow, organic sounding drums is a great addition to the sound. This is also Katja’s first appearance on the release. Her voice is literally floating through these endless ambient textures and it also has some kind of mystical aura to it that will surely cast a spell on every listener. During the last part of the song Kostas incorporated (synth?) cellos and violins into the mix.

05. Away – 6:15
Right from the start I knew that this song would be something special and I wasn’t wrong. ‘Away’ is one of those songs that capture you immediately. This piano melody bears witness of a big sadness and this feeling springs over to the listener’s crawls over his skin and causes shivers. This melody really carries you away and you get lost in your thoughts. Significantly adding to this are undoubtedly the wide melodic synth layers and the beats, always processed with a subtle distortion and bit crush effects are reverberating into eternity.

06. Hollow – 6:35
The luring atmosphere of this track is just amazing. Initially it seems to be reduced sound mash-up but when the deep droning strings appear and Katja’s unique voice emerges, then the song unfolds its full hypnotic charm. And the listener will find himself in a cave, with skilfully crafted beats like drops of water falling down from the ceiling of that cave and when the drop has reached the ground, the echo resounds from the walls.

07. Stranded – 5:30
This comparison might appear a bit strange to you but the structure of the track is just like an architect would build a house. The foundation comprises of carefully arranged samples with deep reverbs and from somewhere the quiet burbling of an underground river gets audible. The next layer follows in the shape of an elaborate beat and on top comes the richest ambience, pads are fused with strings and at least I get the feeling of watching the sun set, standing on a wide field. Close to the end layer after layer disappears and the track gets an unexpected ending.

08. Intact – 2:32
An experimental interlude is expecting you here, I don’t quite know where to start and where the sampling ends and the electronically generated sounds start. The fusion is so perfect that it’s almost impossible to tell but what I can definitely say is that the darkness is dripping out of every pour. It is nearly tangible.

09. Voces Perdidas – 5:33
The track title is Spanish for Lost Voices and that fits. There’s another very special thing about this song which initially appears rather a classic track than an electronic composition. Lonesome piano lines with Katja’s beautiful voice are the only things we hear at first and her classically trained voice shines here, especially when she is supported by the rich string arrangement, I get goose bumps every time. The brooding rhythm has a more experimental approach and blends samples and generated sounds to one cohesive entity.

10. Hollow (Rmx by Mobthrow) – 6:05
The remix retains the overall luring atmosphere of the he original track, introducing a less experimental rhythm work into the nix together with small, beautiful violin passages. Unfortunately MOBTHROW doesn’t use the vocals from Katja yet the remix is nevertheless good.

11. One Step before the Exit (Reconstructed by Flaque) – 5:38
Initially I thought I was listening to the original but I had to listen a little closer as there’s a slight variation in the ambient theme. The beat is still the same but this wouldn’t be a remix if there weren’t any surprises. FLAQUE manipulated the rhythm by adding a few glitches and a bunch of new effects. Sounds great!!!

Rating

Music: 9
Sound: 9
Extras: -
Total: 9

 Conclusion

Greece isn’t a country that recently appeared on the my map when it gets to electronic music but now there’s at least one talented artist I know and I hope we’ll soon hear more good music from that country. The music of SUBHEIM works on a deeply emotional base with many piano parts and rich ambiance. The music is capable of creating pictures, sceneries and emotions but you have to be wiling to get involved wit this journey…


 



 

 

D-Mute -Cette grande famille que l’on désigne communément sous le nom d’IDM a vu ces dernières années bourgeonner quelques pouces mettant à l’honneur le piano. Suivant la voie tracée par Aphex Twin avec son génialissime Drukqs, c’est tout un pan du courant qui a su utiliser à bon escient cet instrument, lui faisant assumer la ligne mélodique tout en reléguant aux synthés le rôle d’ambianceurs d’arrière plan : Port Blue, Boy Is Fiction, The Flashbulb ou encore Kattoo.Derrière Subheim se cache Kotas K, fondateur, avec Katja, du collectif grec SpectraLiquid. Katja est la chanteuse qui pose sa délicieuse voix sur Howl ou Voces Perdidas. Ce premier essai de Subheim est d’une grande poésie. D’ailleurs, Kotas K lui-même ne tarit pas de métaphores lorsqu’il s’agit de présenter son album : sentiments intérieurs et leurs cris de désespoir, villes, ciels, âmes solitaires sur les toits, la laideur urbaine qui a bloqué notre regard vers l’infini, et j’en passe… Pour son petit cocktail de mélancolie, Subheim propose une formule mélangeant donc ce fameux piano, les plages d’un synthétiseur, les violons, et les rythmiques glitchées comme le veut la coutume. L’apport de Katja est tout à fait appréciable dans le sens où les collaborations avec une chanteuse se font plutôt rares – inexistantes ? – pour cette branche de l’IDM. Il participe, avec les violons et le piano, de cette acoustique devenue une qualité au sein de cette scène. En fait, c’est comme si “l’Intelligent Dance Music” avait trop longtemps usé et abusé des possibilités offertes par l’électronique, et qu’elle se rendait aujourd’hui compte de la valeur que peuvent prendre de véritables instruments lorsqu’ils sont adroitement soulignés par la synthèse expérimentale. Un nouveau souffle puisant son inspiration dans une sorte de retour aux sources.Au delà de la marque de bon goût, Subheim sait pondre ces petites mélodies qui nous touchent en bien peu de choses. Les violons s’accordent en symbiose avec les cœurs de synthé. On peut aussi sentir un travail notable dans les réverbérations et la façon dont les sons se déploient dans le champ stéréophonique. La musique de Subheim est d’une somptuosité remarquable. Sa sauce se déverse onctueusement dans nos oreilles et on peut difficilement rester insensible à l’émotion dégagée de chaque pièce. Kotas K est un homme de talent, et sa galette est pour un premier essai une parfaite réussite. La conjoncture actuelle n’étant pas particulièrement favorable à l’IDM – qui pleure encore la mort du projet Kattoo il y a quelques mois, ou celle presque annoncée par le boss du label Alphabasic pour la sortie du dernier The Flashbulb – espérons à Kotas K que son projet Subheim, et plus généralement son collectif SpectraLiquid, arrive à faire son bonhomme de chemin. L’IDM grec est entre de bonnes mains.Chroniqué par Tehanor
le 19/05/2008


 

Connexion BizarreHailing from Greece, Subheim is the solo project of the multi-talented artist known as Kostas K, one of the co-founders of Spectraliquid, an Athens-based record label and artists collective, focused on experimental electronic music. Released on the new American label Tympanik Audio, Subheim’s debut full-length comes shortly after his first appearance on “Konkrete”, Spectraliquid’s debut compilation release.
Describing Subheim’s music, one is hard-pressed to avoid noticing it to be heavily influenced by artists such as Beefcake and later Gridlock works. While not wholly original or innovative, Subheim’s compositions are extremely solid and effective, emotionally-charged pieces which, despite a synthetic execution feel extremely organic – an apt testimony of the artist’s talent and skill. The use of simple sound elements underlies the greater complexity in Subheim’s music, as crushed broken beats and other rhythm elements are layered with slowly drifting piano and string melodies into subtle and intricate tapestries that involve the attentive listener in an aural embrace. Further, delicate and almost inaudible samples and glitches add a further layer of complexity, one whose veil almost requires the undivided attention of the listener to be lifted.
One of the most important aspects of “Approach” lies in the collaboration with the vocalist Katja (another co-founder of the Spectraliquid collective) which lends the ensemble of Subheim’s compositions an additional human quality. Seemingly influenced by Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance, Katja’s haunting vocal prestations are used sparingly through the album, highlights rather than the norm.
On the whole, “Approach” is a rather melancholic and atmospheric body of work which some may consider it as lacking variety in composition and emotion. While these are valid criticism, this sort of music does have its time and place and, as a debut effort (especially as a debut effort), “Approach” is undoubtedly solid, showing great talent and skilled musicianship as well as great future promise for Subheim’s growth as an artist.
– Miguel de Sousa [8/10]

 


Side-Line – Subheim is a Greek project set up by Koastas K, which I discovered and remembered from the outstanding sampler “Konkrete” released on Spectraliquid. After the brilliant and recently released album of Totakeke, Tympanik Audio already delivers a class act. Subheim is a genius, original and refreshing ambient project. But this is not the average ambient recording or the dark ambient cliché, but a pure innovation in its genre. Electronic arrangements and low tempo rhythms have been meticulously fused with classical instruments like piano and cello (cf. the “Howl” cut is amazing in this style) and a few sterile, mysterious female vocals. Subheim composes a delicate music style moving into intriguing atmospheres and fascinating rhythms. The composing is ingenious and perfectly suited for a kind of imaginary soundtrack. The album is impressive from start till end and it’s not a coincidence if the 2 last pieces, which are remixes by Mobthrow and Flaque are the less attractive ones. “Approach” is more than a successful debut as the tracklist is a follow up of great cuts. Just pay some attention for cuts like “Ybe 76″, “One Step Before The Exit”, “Intact” and “Voces Perdidas”. To conclude, simply amazing!
(DP:8/9)DP.

 

 


 The Silent Ballet – Having already released a wonderful album by Totakeke earlier in the year, Tympanik Audio shows no signs of letting up with another terrific release, this time at the hands of Subheim, a.k.a. Kostas K of Athens, Greece. Although the label is still young, with less than ten releases under its belt, it has demonstrated a keen ability to search out some of the more exciting rising artists in the electronic/ambient world. While it seems like every other new label that crops up these days is trying to sell you some permutation of the genres found on Tympanik, few could claim artists with as much depth and maturity as the Chicago imprint. That, my friend, is the cold, hard truth.Enough label fellating, let’s get down to Subheim. Kostas’ music is a blend of various well established genres, the primary ones being ambient, IDM, and downtempo. On top of that, he includes industrial influences and some of those ethereal females vocals that guys go completely nuts over. Vocals are always a tricky business in ambient music, but the ones on Approach sit at the back of the mix and just penetrate through the layers at precisely the right moments. Otherwise Kostas is ripping through one layer to the next with the utmost expertise and intent. Fans of Kiln, Boy is Fiction, and Helios will surely find much to agree with on Approach, and there are cross sections available to all their most recent works. 

Subheim joins the small number of musicians who excel both at sequencing beats and constructing ambient layers. Even those of us living in caves can probably testify that this is a hot spot in musical exploration of the last two years or so, and many have gone down in flames attempting to mix the cocktail just right (see Port-Royal’s latest). The first two thirds of the disc are just marvelous. “Hush” gets things started with great results, and “Ybe 76″ brings in a piano for some Boy is Fiction-esque action. The beats are strong and not flimsy, and the ambience is convincing and tasteful. “One Step Before the Exit” sets the pace with a glitched out IDM beat, and runs just long enough for us to get our fill. The real treat of the album is the seven minute “Howl,” which stitches together everything Kostas does well. It’s a gloomy track that makes great use of the vocals, as well as the interplay between the elecronic and ambient parts of the album. Oh, there’s also some string work in the back end of the track, ala Bersarin Quartett. Really, what’s not to like?

After “Away,” “Hollow,” and “Stranded” carry Approach‘s momentum, things begin to unravel with “Intact.” At just two minutes and thirty-two seconds, the piece is very minimal and not much happens at all. This run contrary to much of the preceding material, and really only works as filler in its currently position. Moving the track up in the ordering might help, but otherwise it’s not earning it’s salary. “Voces Perdidas” suffers a similar fate. Though a much longer track, it’s mostly an interplay between ambient and the vocals, and not much develops over its course. On one hand, the last two tracks show that Subhiem might not be as proficient of an ambient artist as we initially expected. But, on the other, it does illustrate just how intriguing his meshing of different genres is — when he sticks to more simplistic compositions he’s often at a loss of motivation. The album is extended by two additional tracks, a remix of “Hollow” by Mobthrow, and a reconstruction of “One Step Before the Exit” by Flaque. Both pale in comparison to the originals, and don’t fit into the scope of Approach‘s goal. 

Aside from ending on a weaker note, Approach is a very strong effort from the Grecian artist and should be applauded on many levels. The criticism is minor at best, and greatly outweighed by the delights discovered on the front side of the album. Tympanik has released another gem, and with a string of solid releases under its belt, we’re now anxiously awaiting their next move.

-Lee Whitfield

 


 

Enochian Apocalypse – Once in a while something full of promise comes along.  It’s not often a debut album can literally grab my attention by the throat and refuse to let go of its stronghold.
Subheim is the project of Greek composer Kostas K, and it’s also not often we see music of this ilk from the sunny shores that brought us Alexander the Great and the mighty Zeus.  It’s also  possible that in a musical sense at least, we could have the makings of another future legend here if he carries on like this.
Approach is a deeply evocative and immersive exploration of ambience, IDM, subtle electronica and post rock that occasionally flirts with shoe gazing.  It’s wonderfully down tempo and is mood music for the more nocturnal of us out there.  I hate to make comparisons to other artists, but there is a wave of Bitcrush in there as styles go.  This however has been done in Subheim’s own format and makes it uniquely refreshing as opposed to going down the ‘must sound like this’ route that many artists seem to meander along with.
Solitary abstract moments are vast throughout this opus, sitting neatly with cavernous desolation.  The key structure being that Kostas just captures you before you fall.  This is a far from a depressing release and one that more toys with the aspects of longing and gives you that all essential heart massage when it aches. An essential purchase right now.  Fulfilling and engaging. 9/10 – Tony Young



 

 

Chain DLK - The one-man-project SUBHEIM hails out of Greece and presents with “Approach” a debut signed to the Chicago Heights-based label Tympanik Audio. This fact is quite remarkable, because Kostas K., who stands behind the audio and visual results of SUBHEIM, is also one of the leaders of the new Greek label collective Spectraliquid. So it would be an easy procedure to release this album under the own flag, but luckily also the responsible people behind Tympanik Audio have washed their ears and are able to recognize the great talent, which sleeps in Kostas. The music of SUBHEIM is a sort of moody Ambient-Electronica, which allows musically comparisons between the works of POLYGON and/or the unforgotten US-duo GRIDLOCK. Already the exceptional and beautiful done cover art with its nature-, rain- and water-related photos done by Kostas, offers a first impression of the coming autumn. “Approach” is a rather sedating and gloomy trip into a cinematic sound outfit, which concentrates to combine Down-Tempo ambience with some dark but remarkable melodic spots, often inserted and presented with a piano (“Ybe 76”, “Away”, “Voces Perdidas”). Not too much sci-fi in its attitude, also no vocals are present, with the exception of some female background inserts provided by Katja, who was already active with SUBHEIM on the Spectraliquid “Konkrete” compilation appearance “Howl”, also here present in a different version. “Approach” features 9 original tracks by Kostas plus 2 additional remix interpretations provided by the German FLAQUE and the up and coming Greek talent MOBTHROW. It’s an eclectic but very coherent arranged Ambient-Electronica album, which is the ideal disc to let you sink deep into an armchair with a pair of good headphones. Make sure to consume this fantastic Ambient journey without any disturbance, it deserves your fully attention. One of the best for this genre currently, check it out! 

 – Reviewed by Marc Tater [4.5/5]