Michael Frenkel's dark ambient-project Aspectee got born in 2008. Its debut, the EP Espe was released in '09, and the first full-length Morben was released later the same year. After taking part on one compilation, also in 2009, the next transmitted sign of life from Aspectee is this: Jour Cinq, the second full-length album, released in late 2011.
My first thought about the album was that it sounds surprisingly minimalistic when compared with the Morben-album. The songs are indeed calmer and more focused, and their mutations and overall growth is executed in a more subtle manner. This is all too deceptive, as the songs truly have a lot of content and dark moods laying and moving under their shell of calm analogue ambience. Things are just more stripped-down and matured than before. Some of the source sounds are a tad usual, but the good production values and the artist's strong vision in using them makes 'em function without a problem.
The songs are at their most minimalistic when composed of just a few simplistic layers of analogue ambience, all folded together to create an original-sounding atmosphere with a dark undercurrent, a'la "roter wald." Some songs, however, are noisier, such as the dry and droning "skie," and some such as "illicit" are more close to the Morben-album with heavier usage of field-recorded (and partly manipulated) clangs, hisses, drips, and what-not sounds that give the songs more of a musique concrète-feel. Yet, instead of using track-per-track -separations like this, I'd pay more attention to the album's overall flow and how its mood and character slowly changes. Instead of creating a dark feel with low frequencies and monotone, Aspectee causes the same effect by keeping the listener perplexed by not revealing what s/he's being subjected to.
The first album had close-ups of plants in its covers, whereas this one has (equally obscure) pictures of soil and other elements close to earth. I'm not sure if it was what mr. Frenkel was going for, but these differences fit with my perception of the two albums; whereas Morben was the colourful and exotic flower, Jour Cinq is the nutritious soil it sprouts from. It's calmer, bleaker and more minimalistic, but has a lot of life and mysterious movement under it's surface. The soundscape is as good and professional as on Morben, maybe even better, so no lapses have happened in that section either.
I've been waiting for this album for quite a while, and i was not disappointed. Recommended for anyone who has a curious mind for ambient and isn't afraid of the dark.