How To Cure Our Soul: Saigon
Audiobulb Records

While the title of How To Cure Our Soul's second official release calls to mind images, many horrific, of the Vietnam war, it's unclear whether that's what audio-visual duo Marco Marzuoli and Alessandro Sergente intended by their choice. And if Saigon is an evocative title, as suggestive are the ones chosen for the recording's two long-from pieces “Aurea” and “Opium.” Such is the nature of abstract instrumental music that questions of meaning will predictably arise and just as predictably be difficult to resolve.

Marzuoli founded the Abruzzo, Italy-based How To Cure Our Soul project in 2010 and was later joined by Sergente. Having both graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, the duo, armed with digital and analogue gear, set out to explore concepts like identity, time, and space in sound form and encourage reflection upon such matters in the listener as he/she absorbs the outfit's ambient-drone meditations.

On the fifty-four-minute Saigon, Marzuoli's credited with tape, mixing board, and laptop, and Sergente guitar, bass, and electronics. Those familiar with the ambient-drone genre will already have a pretty good idea of what to expect: deep, immersive soundscapes whose lulling, lo-fi drift is best experienced on headphones or on a high-end system at loud volume. The two settings aren't fundamentally different with respect to structural design and duration, though the pitches in “Opium,” suggestive of the muted hum of a low-flying plane, are lower. With droning layers accruing almost imperceptibly, time slows if not suspends altogether as the gently pulsating settings unfold. States of peacefulness and calm set in as the minutes advance, and any feelings of turmoil temporarily recede from view. How To Cure Our Soul didn't invent the ambient-drone style, obviously, but Marzuoli and Sergente do it as well as anybody.

May 2015