A lavish four chapter chronicle that imagines an alternative evolution of mankind through sound, VĪS (Latin for energy or force) is the result of a lengthy process of self-discovery, collaboration and research for Italian-German composer David August. The son of a classical pianist, August slipped from the academic music world into an early career as a dance music producer and DJ before he felt his artistic outlook shifting considerably. He established the adventurous 99CHANTS label in 2018, and has since used it as an output for his most progressive notions, collaborating most recently with jazz-noise vocalist Cansu Tanrikulu and Carnatic singer Sushma Soma on last year's acclaimed 'Imaginary Landscapes' compilation. VĪS then is a chance for August to reconcile his personal narrative, leveling it with concepts that touch on history, transformation and metaphysics.
He wrote the album's 13 pieces to play like a linear storyline, tracking the development of culture from its illusory beginnings in Plato's cave into the wider world and observing its progression and adaptation. August represents these themes with levitational orchestral drones, choirs and bells that slowly bend to long-forgotten ancestral rhythms, inevitably colliding with the digitized chaos of the information age.
Motion guides everything, whether it's shadows on a wall projected by dancing flames, or dramatic, overlayed rhythms that vibrate the air and excite the feet. VĪS is a dynamic attempt to show the movement of time on a macro scale, looking backwards in order to move forwards. It charts mankind's journey from its cosmic beginnings through the awe-inspiring world of flora and fauna, grounding the experience in rhythmic expression and dance before we're returned to the stars in transcended form. Crucially, it's a hopeful articulation of ideas and concepts that continue to echo throughout history, inviting us to imagine greater and cherish the teeming landscape that surrounds us.