Everyone into listening to an making ambient music should listen an pay attention to the masterful use of subtle unidentifiable sounds that are "almost" there. (track 8) This is a masterpiece.
Favorite track: North Passage I (Complete Album - 2016 Version).
"Fans of ambient music will no doubt be familiar with the work of Mathias Grassow and Tomas Weiss, Grassow being among the most well known and prolific genre artists of the last twenty years, and Weiss being responsible for founding a number of labels and communities supporting a variety of different electronic styles, as well as releasing his own impressive music. Given their individual histories, when I heard that the two of them were working on a collaboration, I became quite interested to see what they came up with. Needless to say, I'm pleased to report that the resulting project Nautic Depths lives up to all my expectations with the impressive release "North Passage". Presented as a single long form piece divided into indexed passages, "North Passage" is a fascinating and engaging release that I am most impressed with.
"Norvegia" opens the disc, a low drone bed with occasional sounds overtop, a very beautiful atmospheric piece that brings to mind the Nostromo disc by Sleep Research Facility. Very dark and somewhat ominous, "Norvegia" is inspired in its approach at conjuring a dark atmosphere. The transition into "Arkona" is nearly imperceptible, but as time passes it becomes clear that new elemements have been added to the sound. A haunting call, a deeper drone, we've clearly entered new territory but it all feels to be part of the same journey, a logical step in our travels. "Mercury" flows along in a similar vein, though there is a slightly denser feeling of higher tones and sounds, a slightly more "active" feel to the track. "Astrolabe" shifts the sound considerably, a sudden change to a warmer steady drone which comes across as somehow more inviting. It's an interesting study in aural dynamics, the way the listener hears different elements to the tone as it progresses, nuances in sound that are subtle at first but gain a greater significance as time goes on. After the relative warmth of the previous track, "Fram" brings us back to a particularly cold and dark space, where the feeling of isolation becomes particularly obvious. Other tones are heard on the edges of the soundfield, but nothing so clear that it can be identified or recognized, adding an element of fear to the proceedings that benefits the listening experience. "Aurora" closes the disc, once again returning to a sparse and simple drone, steady, dark, ominous. It ends slowly, quietly, gradually, done in such a way that you don't even notice it's over until it's done.
It should come as no surprise that a collaboration between such notable talents has resulted in such a wonderful disc. I wholeheartedly recommend "North Passage" by Nautic Depths as an excellent release that bears further investigation." (rik - ping things)
"Delicate atmospherics are the fundamental basis for this music. Surging textures and airy tones waft to create auralscapes of almost frigid temperament. Tenuous electronics establish a stark presence that reeks of expansive vistas of emptiness. Resonant tonalities formulate harmonic flows that remain undisturbed by the periodic rise and fall of auxiliary sounds, most of which are equally insubstantial and crafted as hints more than demonstrative elements. A palpable density is achieved by these rarefied sonic aspects. The sighing of spectral flutes are carried on artificial winds. Imaginary beats sound just beyond hearing, audible only by suspicion. Environmental recordings make similar obscure appearances, muted to the point of influence rather than definition. These compositions are wholly ethereal, eliciting emotion responses by stimulating the cortex far beneath conscious awareness. Their vaporous substantiality is harmonic, ephemeral, often barely discernible. Recordings like this serve to function as options to silence, providing the listener with subconscious stimulus." (Matt Howarth - Sonic Curiosity)
"Behind Nautical Depths we find Tomas Weiss and Mathias Grassow and for their 'North Passage', they find inspiration in the life of Willem Barentz, the dutch sailor who tried to find the passage to the east along the norther coast of Russia...The music here is a tribute to his work and Grassow and Weiss find the lowest tones on their keyboards to make an aural picture of the cold and harshness of the climate, yet of course the music is not at all harsh or cold. Deep drone music of a highly relaxing kind. Nothing to do with new age either.....Quite a strong release!" (Vital)
Nautic Depths is a collaboration between Tomas Weiss and Mathias Grassow, who’s concept album “North Passage” (their second release if I’m not mistaken) is a tribute to the adventurous life and times of Willem Barentsz and his voyage over the ocean across the Arctic Circle in search of a shorter passage to China. The music is presented in six uninterrupted, highly cinematic long-form ambient/space tracks, made up of slowly roaming, non-rhythmic and minimal-oriented textures, occasional sustained piano tones and dronescapes. To enhance its overall expression, airy effects and “Deep Nature Mysticism” were added to the 59-minutes of sonic imagery of underwater landscapes, together creating a remote sounding and rather deep listening experience. The only weaker track is “Astrolabe”, of which the first half drifts along almost static without anything substantial happening. The limited edition “North Passage” confirms the label’s aim inviting and leading the listener to immerse himself into the artist’s deeper inner journey. Nicely done, gentlemen! (Bert Strolenberg - Sonicimmersion)