'"Souyuan" is a fresh example of futurism rising away from the bourne of dark ambient music promulgating (though mostly crowding) the fringes. It is a steel and glass tower of music broadcasting stark contrasts to the rustling middens about it. Tumid electronics are intimately tactile – palpably so as Simon Heath’s detail to thrumming bodies with soft frequencies to slowly macerate a listener’s insides illustrate. Further, it is not just one perspective of drawn out experience that Atrium Carceri foments in the album; it is no novel, rather a collection of short stories, dark ones.
Expressionistic piano inters the listener in the sullen tomb of the second number where fingers sigh by trailing lonely chords, exploring for hopeful salience but instead drifting without end. Lamentably poignantly as it is haunting, it is but one of the many diverse faces of «Souyuan”. By the third track of «Souyuan”, Atrium Carceri clearly shows this is not a thematic album or one of intertwining linear experience. The only relationship track to track is its cohesive quality and singular creative source; each track is as unknown to each other like one bastard child to another, yet clearly related.
Percussion crumbles in rivulets of shingle in a quarry, the granite particles hoarding together and rustling dark whispers in unexpected crescendos and lurches. Vents scream like displaced monsters lost in the shadows of the agglomerated organic parts that churn machine-like, sans repetition. All the electronics used in "Souyuan" swell and pulse a liquidity, enveloping and transmogrify all aether and inspissating it, swirling into balls of bass reverberating gel.
The production is for the most part immaculately mixed and mastered. It deserves a 5.1 or some other stereoscopic sound resonator – high-end headphones at the very least. «Souyuan” is an immersion album, one that doesn’t drown you in one constant and harrowing hour of similar sound-scape distress but slowly envelops you in a series of isolated pockets of seltzer where the effervescence shivers.
If you have been disappointed in CMI's wavering observance to its darker roots of late, you will find that Atrium Carceri's latest addresses that concern and any others. With such varied stages set by Atrium Carceri there is the potential for exhaustion as all the tracks are memorable but would be best digested regularly as a daily course or like a collection of short stories, either way both should be savoured.'