A Journal Of The Dark Arts
Never have i been more excited to open a random e-mail from a label, as with this split release between EUS, from Costa Rica, and MyTrip, somewhere between Bulgaria and France. It was just the perfect combination of right place, right time – it was late, but i was not yet ready for sleep. Up in the night, reading about old electronic records, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a note from Angel Simitchiev, the man behind MyTrip, heralding the advent of the digital release. I thought this could be a perfect opportunity to write about a new release, in real time, just a few hours after it was released.
I’m glad i did, as this 60-minute ferric odyssey is full of masterful drones, both acoustic and electronic, proving, once again, that drone is not a dirty word.
The release is split across each respective musician’s bandcamp, so i listened to EUS’ side first. Couldn’t find a lot of biographical information on EUS, other than (s)he is from Costa Rica, releases music on Contradicta Records, and plays in some progressive metal bands.
EUS’ side is called Reviraje, which busted up into 7 segments. It’s a lush, orchestral drone, which is surprisingly organic, considering the dark ambient tag. It’s clear from the very first second that this is no mere PaulStretch chopped ‘n screw effort, there is nuance and control to these compositions. EUS seems to be returning drone-based music back to it’s classical origins in the west, back to LaMonte Young‘s tangled cat’s cradle of banjo and catgut strings.
Reviraje is built around a tremulous foundation of string drones, over which other instruments and sound sources come and go. The strings act as the locale, with flutes and flugelhorns providing the details. It’s all a free flow, a smooth transition, so each track is like a chapter of some psychotropic ’60s film. Like a race of ancient wizards watching a sun rise from a ziggurat.
The mix on this side is wicked, super lush and pro. Fans of Ben Frost, William Basinski and classical dreadnaughts like Kreng and Deaf Center will be mesmerized by these rippling textures.
EUS reminds us of drone/tone-based composition, and how it can free us from the prison of Western tonality and harmony. Without meaning to, we fall into subconscious habits and patterns, as certain sounds beg to resolve to others. Our actions are forced, and, in a way, that means a lot of music is limited in the kind of stories it can tell, and the moods it can evoke.
Instead, “Reviraje” is true music of the spheres, where glistening sustained tones rub up against one another like rotating galaxies.
Glorious stuff. A gifted composer, and one to watch, for sure.
Listen to Reviraje here
Mytrip’s side is more like traditional dark ambient, being based around electronic tones, drones and textures. A miasma of flickering feedback is interspersed with aring electricity, like some enormous Jacob’s Ladder, like you’re in some cosmic laboratory somewhere. Dr. Pretorious would be proud. A new world of gods and monsters, indeed.
On “Life”, science acknowledges subtle dimensions, and uses it’s knowledge to rend the veil. The body electric is replaced by sinister, timeless whispering. If you are not afraid, they can teach you things.
“Less” is the culmination of the record, at an epic 18 minutes. Underwater organs transform into the sound of a rising tide, which eventually recedes, all built upon a foundation of ’80s-style Lustmord choral synths. This is what it would sound like if the Easter Island heads could sing. And were summoning Dagon. Again, try not to fear, open yrself to the wisdom. Go along for the ride.
Listen to Lifeless here.
This split is available as a pay-what-you-want download, and an edition of 66 from BLWBCK. It’s bound to go quick, so act fast. This’d be a good one to have an artifact of. So you can flip it. Over. And over. And over.
I wish all tapes were this good. The amount of care and attention that has gone into the mixing, arrangement and packaging are truly inspiring.
I’m super glad I opened that e-mail, as i ended up discovering two tremendous new artists, and a killer new label. It seems that BLWBCK has a boatload of quality material to sift through, and seem like one to watch.