Asia Minor by Mariko Neutral


1. Asia Minor
2. At The Bottom Of A Hole
3. A Void
4. Kyoko

Mariko Neutral is an ambient artist out of Hong Kong and Asia Minor is his latest ep. Mariko Neutral takes a very unique approach to the ambient drone genre, and I recommend diving deep into the textured world that is Asia Minor.

When you hear drone you expect something dark and metal. And yet that isn’t exactly what you get on this project. Take the title track. While it brings you into a dark gloomy atmosphere, at the bottom of the track is a relatively light melody. The drone element of it is all added on through texture and  atmospheric elements.

The second track “At The Bottom Of A Hole” is a spoken word piece with another light instrumental floating in the background. The melody line on this track is much more sour in tone and flavor. The track sticks closer to the ambient side of the sound. There is some added texture that holds the melody together. It floats around trying to stick somewhere but keeps getting stopped by the background music.

“A Void” immediately starts with a loud blare that gets picked up and played with as part of the instrumental reminding me of that STOMP project. However very quickly it gets swamped by lots of noise — not neccesarily melody — just overwhelming sounds.

“Kyoko” starts with a little electronic melody line that slowly builds till it’s again swamped by blaring noises. They build and build until in the last minute the songs breaks apart. First you get a female voice cut up that seems to be laughing, This is scored by a building blare. Then suddenly the song become a sweet ambient melody.

The album as a whole is an experience. Unlike many drone metal and ambient projects, this is relatively short at only 15 minutes. It’s quick and punchy while still instrumentally varied and dense. I highly recommend checking it out.

– Joshua Ellis-Einhorn

You can listen to the album here.

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