Nielu LP - $17
The quality of Olli Aarni’s music has remained remarkably high given his consistent output over the last five years for labels like Preservation, Cotton Goods, and Dauw. Often working in the cassette format and primarily composing extended, gorgeously textured drones, Aarni’s new album, Nielu, is one of his first releases on vinyl and a kind of culmination of the sound he has crafted for years. Even in the context of such an impressive discography, Nielu is noteworthy and Aarni considers it to be his personal definitive ambient album.
The hallmarks of Aarni’s prior work—exceptional attention to texture, ghostly looped figures, enveloping sound fields—are especially immersive on Nielu, which, in his native Finnish, can be translated as “vortex,” “throat,” or “swallowing”—all appropriate imagery here. Taking inspiration from the harsh winters of Norway and Finland, both side-long pieces are enveloping compositions that reward close listening but, even more, invite surrender to wide washes of sound. Evocative and sometimes, bleak, Nielu is fundamentally beautiful and grows more emotionally engaging the louder it is played.
Mastered by Taylor Deupree. Limited to 150 LPs, comes with a two-sided insert and download code.