Posts Tagged ‘Spiritual’

Liturgy has shared the single ‘Angel of Sovereignty’ from their upcoming album 93696, out March 24th, 2023. The piece showcases Liturgy’s boundless ambition towards transcendence through rich compositions untethered by traditional rock constructs. Comprised almost entirely of a children’s choir, the track is unmistakably the work of Liturgy, building tension through an evolving round whose chords grow more dense and textured.

Liturgy transcends the traditional parameters of what constitutes a rock band. Founded by Ravenna Hunt- Hendrix, Liturgy is a part of a shared discipline of composition, art, and philosophy that thrives on exploring the spaces between. As an ever-evolving practice Hunt-Hendrix has incorporated elements of black metal, art rock, opera, and trap production into the musical language of Liturgy while engaging with transcendental, theological and eschatological theory through lectures series’ and art installations. A profound sense of yearning and emotional depth weaves through the Liturgy’s dense layers and anchors the project’s increasingly complex and innovative work.

New album 93696 is the purest synthesis of the diversity of Liturgy, a sprawling and monumental double album exploring religion, cosmic love, the feminine, and metamorphosis while manifesting the ecstatic with breathtaking grandeur. Listen here:

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Photo Credit: Jessica Hallock

The Circle Music – 9th September 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Dakini, the debut album by Lisa Hammer (Requiem In White, Mors Syphilitica) was originally released back in 2009. It’s been described as ‘music for ritual, introspection and awakening of the senses’, ‘a complete manifesto of inner search in which a lot of influences from different genres of music’, and that it was ‘designed to carry the listener away from the manifest world and into a deeper space’.

Re-released here on limited coloured vinyl as an expanded release with three additional tracks, it provides an ideal opportunity for existing fans to re-evaluate, and reacquaint themselves, and for latecomers to be introduced.

It happens that I’m in the latter camp, and so am coming to the album with fresh ears, and only the facts that it’s pitched as being for fans of Dead Can Dance while promising ‘unprecedented vocals, sometimes angelic and sometimes damned as if they come from another period forgotten by the time.

Now, one might ask, if the original release was a ‘complete manifesto’, is the inclusion of additional tracks not gilding the lily? Especially when considering that ‘the Indian ragas correspond with times of the day, so the album represents a condensed 24 hours, which is perfect for ritual, or any emotional and spiritual trip.’ In context, there is the question off how to assimilate the additional material in the least obtrusive way, with the least impact on the flow that is so integral to the original concept?

Opening the album with a new, seven-minute ‘Alte Clamat Epicurus’ works nicely; it’s an evocative vocal incantation with a sparse droning backing. It sounds – in the mind’s eye, and with a small soupçon of imagination – like a sunrise, like an awakening. Hammer sounds both otherworldly and most incredibly earthy, which is no small feat – but then, I find that this is something particular to music, particularly vocalisations, which tap into echoes of ancient spirituality. While exalting the heavens, there feels as though there is a deeper connection with the ground, the rocks, trees, the elements. It paves the way perfectly for ‘In Taberna Quando Sumus’; simple, rhythmic, repetitive. As the album progresses, one becomes attuned to the sense of an arc, of a cycle, and Hammer leads the listener on a journey inside. Some of the musical arrangements are so minimal as to be barely there, the sound of the wind and cavernous reverberations, while others are centred around hypnotic percussion and wordless choral vocalisations, as on the powerful ‘Samsara’ and the lilting, ethereal ‘Vajra’.

That flow is disrupted somewhat with a dance mix of ‘Chant Nr 5’ dropped as the fourteenth track at the end of side three. In the sense that it bookends the side, which opens with the original version, it makes some sort of sense, but still… it’s incongruous, sweeping away the drifting incense with a busy beat and quavering organ tone. Perhaps this is why I’m always hesitant to use the term ‘world’ music: it’s such a western-centric view of the globe, where ‘the world’ is vast and the west occupies only a sliver of it, both geographically and culturally. In the west, the west is the world and perceives its cultural dominance as such. It’s a badly skewed perspective.

While Dakini incorporates elements of what would commonly be described as ‘world’ music, it’s really ‘world’ music in that it truly embraces music from the world in its full breadth, with the delicate sing-song of ‘Lullaby’ perhaps owing more to western traditions and showing that for Hammer, all sources are equal, and it makes for a rich and moving listening experience.

Side four ends, and closes the album, with the third and final bonus track, ‘Hurdy Gurdy Gavotte’. And there, it sits perfectly.

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‘The End of Absence’ is the second single to be taken from Devotional, the new collaborative album from The Lord & Petra Haden arriving on 21st October. The track is the closer of the album, and provides a beguiling mixture of vocals and droning guitar to create a seductive atmosphere as incessant as waves beating upon a shore.

Devotional is a rapturous and heady offering of wordless vocalisations, droning guitars, and heaviness explored in unexpected and intoxicating ways. Inspirations came from deep listening to Indian classical music, as well as a fascinating look at the chaotic and unbelievable life of Ma Anand Sheela and the Rajneesh community.  

Through a haze of incense, flowing robes, and secret mantras, Haden’s voice rings out over constant drones in ecstatic chants throughout this musical investigation into the myriad of ways in which worship can lure and intoxicate.

Listen to ‘The End of Absence’ here:

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By Norse – 26th November 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Hildring is the second album by Wardruna vocalist Lindy-Fay Hella with musicians Dei Farne. It’s been a long time in the making, with ‘Taag’ dropping as a single back in the summer of 2020. But what is time when the world is off its keel and the world is spinning at a different pace, one so rapid we’ve lost touch with our innermost selves? Lindy-Fay Hella and Dei Farne connect with a past world, a time before technology: not necessarily a more primitive time, but a time in which there was a closer connection to earth and nature, and also to the inner self, the core spirit.

‘Hildring’ is the Norwegian word for mirage, and it’s fitting, for despite the solid, tribal percussion that dominates the sound, paired with solid, chunky basslines, the remaining musical elements are fleeting, flitting, mellifluous, transient, impossible to grasp a firm hold of.

That isn’t to say the album is all airy atmosphere and no substance: quite the opposite, in fact, there’s a sturdiness and density to the richly layered compositions, and it’s a very fine balance of the seemingly separate elements, namely the solid, and the ethereal and airy. The drumming is immense, ribcage-rattling, rousing. There is a wonderfully rich, earthy quality to Hildring. In keeping with Wardruna’s quest to explore Norse cultural and esoteric traditions by delving into ancient history and mythology, so in this collaborative project Lindy-Fay Hella continues that focus. The sound is modern, but the album is deeply evocative as echoes of the ancient resonate forward through every note, and you feel the aura of generations past around your being as you listen. It resonates in ways beyond expression, beyond lived experience. It’s deep, and it’s powerful, and strikes a resonant chord from the off with the percussion-led title track, where soaring vocals and a driving bass melt together amidst spacious waves of sound, and it sets the bar and the form.

In something of a shift from the overarching style, ‘Insect’ feels rather more overtly electronic, with skittering glow-worm flickers flitting hither and thither, but it’s still packing a rare emotional intensity.

‘Compositionally, ‘Briising’ is minimal; drums, bass, sweeping, droning synth, and incidental cymbals accompany a balanced, inwardly-focused vocal performance. There’s a menacing, growling vocal that is again otherworldly, and if not scary, then unsettling. ‘I return to fire’, he repeats in a dark, gravelled monotone.

‘Taag’ goes big on the expansive sound, and it’s sweeping, immense, immersive. It’s bordering on the grandiosity of post-rock, and propelled by urgent drumming. Elsewhere, the sparse, looping synth of the appropriately-titled ‘Otherworld’ is relentless and resonant.

Throughout, Lindy-Fay’s vocals are outstanding, and the album showcases her remarkable vocal dexterity. Often light and airy and floating and soaring above all layers of human perception, Hildring is magical, mystical, beautiful, majestic, and powerful. There, I managed to not to use ‘epic’!

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Malignant Records – TUMRCD117 – 8th January 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

Greek ritual ambient duo, Martyria promise ‘5 stunning tracks of textural depth, sepulchral darkness, and exotic, richly detailed atmospheres’, and are pitched for fans of Dead Can Dance, Funerary Call, Voice of Eye, and Shibalba. I’m not going to feign superior knowledge: I’m only aware of Dead Can Dance from that list, but I have a hunch I know what’s reasonable to expect here. I’m braced for dark, haunting, atmospheric. I’m anticipating compositions which emanate subterranean spiritualism and mystery. And this is precisely what Martyria deliver.

This is dark. Dark in the sense of ominous, eerie. Dark in the sense of foreboding. Dark in the sense of the occult and the otherworldly. Dark in the sense of the unheimlich. Rhythms clatter and patter as wordless invocations float and drift above eternal drones. Dolorous bells herald the arrival of an elongated drone and an ethereal, choral female voice. Bells chime in a whorl of what sounds like didgeridoo as heaving chants and vocalisations conjured from the depths of the diaphragm in monasterial intonations.

At the mid-point of the album, ‘Nekron’, plunges into deeper, darker depths: dank rumblings and distant thunder which registers low on the sonic spectrum, churning at the gut, conjure dark, shadowy visions. It bleeds into the even longer darker, more sinister ‘Nyx’, dominated by cavernous percussion, muffled by distance and depth. It evokes flickering images of candlelit rituals held in carved temples far beneath the surface in secret cave networks.

The final composition, ‘Eschaton’, stretches out over some twelve and a half minutes with wordless vocal evocations and intimations of ancient occultism. It’s not music you can readily understand or cognise: it registers on a level far, far beneath the surface of comprehension. It’s the calling of the earth, the rocks, the trees. It registers and calls to a part of the psyche long-buried. Martyria speaks to the resonant brain, to genetic imprints, to the soul as conveyed through generations of heredity. It speaks to ancient history, knowledge buried through centuries of ‘progress’. Martyria is not a work to comprehend, but to allow to bury its way into the canals of the mind devoted to instinct. Its impact is difficult to quantify or even to explain on a rational, scientific level. And yet, it has impact and resonance – deep, slow-register resonance.

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