A Deep Voiceless Wilderness, the latest solo album from Neurosis front man Steve von Till, is a deeply ethereal and inquisitive neoclassical work of ambiance and varied instrumentation. There are strings. There are synthesizers, pianos, and mellotrons, but there are no signature von Till guitars.
The follow up to von Till’s 2020 album No Wilderness Deep Enough, this new record is the same compositions without von Till’s voice and words. It opens the music up for the listener to experience the work in a new, more meditative way. While the composition of this record is carefully written, the performances are beautiful and raw.
Synthesizers establish the palette of the opening track, “Called From the Wind,” which are topped by strings, bass, and a piano. It is a dynamic and beautiful beginning that is reminiscent of chamber music. Followed by pulsating and fluttering synths whose rhythms change with the track, “We’ll Always Have the Sea” is triumphant, swelling like the waters of its namesake.
Swells also characterize the third track “The Emptiness Swallows Us All” as well. It builds as the low synthesizers establish the beat while more pianos and strings take the forefront, changing the atmosphere of the track. It becomes achingly, heartbreakingly beautiful. While the analog synthesizers conjure a previous decade, the neo-classical instrumentation of the piano and violin call back to another century. Fuzzy electronics disturb the gorgeous composition, mixing the modern with the very old.
A trope of ambient music that is avoided on this album is that none of the tracks intersect. They are standalone pieces of music that differentiate from each other while calling back to one pulling from similar themes. “Shelter in Surrender” focuses on piano two chords while shining and static ambient sounds swirl around them.
While it is refreshing that none of the tracks led into one another, there isn’t much development in each piece without the vocals. It’s vast but less dynamic than the pieces with vocals. Every track stays at a relatively constant pace and comes to end fairly quickly for the genres it inhabits.
Finally, “The Spiraling Away” ties it all together nicely. Intersecting strings come together to fill out the space between them while tinkering high sounds pop in the background. It is again representative of the simple composition and vision of this record, with subtle melodies and pulsing low synths in the background. It remains constant but the constant addition of new instruments makes the track moving and introspective. The simplicity and beauty of the sounds calls upon the listener to take a breathe and drink it all in.