Other Half/Bright Encounter is the second album from ambient/drone duo Dominic Coppola and Theodore Schafer, otherwise known as Cestine. Through two fifteen minute tracks they explore a particularly melancholic and minimalist form of ambient while flirting with experimental touches, particularly on the latter of the two pieces. The first piece Other Half gives a bleak wall of sound with dense but by no means harsh synth drones hanging in the air throughout the track like a thick fog while minimal ambient improvisations make their way through giving life to another wise dense, dark track. It’s strange because the slow moving dense sound creates a bleak fog of melancholy in the vein of Hoedh, but the swirling ambient flourishes that permeate through the fog give it a bright, calming feel and the effect of the two works rather well. While not quite reaching the upper echelons of the genre and not reaching the beauty and darkness of the aforementioned Hoedh it’s at least an interesting track and should please fans of the style to an extent.
The second track Bright Encounter is more of a dark ambient affair rather than a droning one, with samples of people talking in German against some static noise and slowly evolving brooding synths, unfortunately too brooding and minimalist to capture the attention very much, and the samples and static are unfortunately quite uninteresting. The first ten minutes go by with a dull repetitive melody, but over it length it does at least get more interesting as it goes on. Dark distorted rumbles of dark ambience roll through the track providing at least some good ideas amongst those boring samples, and by the time the ten minute mark comes around the track get’s a lot better. The samples fade away, and a fantastic dark melancholic layering of synth drones creates a bleak atmosphere, invoking images of dense forests in night time. Again the Hoedh influence shines through with the bleak sound, and the last five minutes are the best on the release, the evolving rolling ambience is beautiful and mysterious, cathartically melancholy.
Overall it has it’s drawbacks, but the album’s strong points are very strong, those last five minutes of Bright Encounter are brilliant, and the wall of sound on Other Half is more than convincing. Not quite up there with the genre’s greats, but more work on the next release and they can get there judging from the parts they get right,