FUZZNAUT - Apophenia (Review)
Written by: The Administrator
Okay. In order to set the stage, please excuse some heavy self-plagerization. In discussing "Haunting Mantra," Fuzznaut's excellent standalone single from the long-ago year of 2020, I wrote that guitarist and composer Emilio Rizzo's work is "self-contained enough to provide certain boundaries, yet breathable enough to allow for a steadfast sense of relaxation, creating a lush environment without feeling overly complex or indulgent." On this latest project, the 26 minute Apophenia, Rizzo presents similar ideas in format that feels even more meditative, yet tinged with the emotional weight of seemingly omnipresent melancholy.
Before we get too far into the fray: this is a strong album, a crystal-clear encapsulation of the trademark Fuzznaut approach and aesthetic. While your mileage will absolutely vary depending on your willingness to sink into the embrace of atmospheric instrumental music, I highly recommend trying Apophenia on for size.
Being the expression of one man with a guitar, there's an intrinsically personal quality to the music–a window into a soul, authentic or projected. There's no percussion or vocals or bass or other extraneous elements cluttering the doomgaze-y composition, which, by default, leaves room for the somber guitar to shine. Rather than falling into unadulterated drone ambience, however, Fuzznut delivers in the arenas of melody and recognizable motifs. This is a quality central to successful doomgaze, and here, Rizzo demonstrates that the subgenre can indeed exist and flourish on the broad shoulders of guitar alone. A languid yet catchy riff will emerge and continue to surface across the breadth of a track, creating pockets of familiarity in the swirling atmosphere. There's an illusion of organic ebb and flow baked into Apophenia as a whole, and this current is often the result of an identifiable pattern stepping once more into center stage after a brief moment behind the curtain.
It is easy to view this as a single song, but the tracks herein do sit comfortably in their own space while simultaneously demonstrating movement and subtle transformation. The tone will perceptibly shift--take the scuzzy and fuzzy sneer of "Parasitic Oscillation" or the menace that manifests on standout track "Hawk over Fifth" as prime examples of the emotive weight that builds and flourishes. While Apophenia should feel minimal on paper, it does not in practice. As a soundtrack or score, it covers a lot of ground, even if the visuals are dependent on the listener's imagination. Self invented narrative is inevitable, and, speaking personally, that results in a pretty therapeutic experience. Despite the darkly somber and at times foreboding tone, the warm embrace of the instrumentation leaves one feeling quite snug and secure. Indeed, to quote myself again, "if comfort could be distilled into pure aural form, this very well could be it."
This type of music inherently requires a certain mindset of the audience. If you want all of the elements that a full band can provide, you're not going to find them here. Extensive repetition is inevitable, as is a certain spaced-out and borderline hypnotic ambience. To that end, the length is pretty much perfect--any longer would result in unnecessary re-treading, while any shorter wouldn't provide an adequate environ for that glorious vibe state.
Apophenia is a mood-setter and arguably a mood-enhancer. Like any good doomy album, however, it is not mere background music. Fuzznaut has created an introspective atmospheric instrumental album that rewards active listening and re-listening, and that is an admirable achievement. Highly recommended!
Fuzznaut - Apophenia was independently released Nov. 4th, 2022, and can be found here!
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.