Wednesday, February 26, 2020

TRACK REVIEW AND PREMIERE: Guan Yin: Evocation II


For fans of my personal work outside of TFAN, one-half of ritual ambient project Guan Yin should need no introduction; fans of extreme music as a whole shouldn't need introduction to either half. Cicatrix is the head of black metal and dark ambient label Akashic Envoy Records (a label that is both a friend and supporter of the show and the label two of my own bands, Coma Roulette and Ophelia Drowning, are signed to); Espi Kvlt is an inordinately prolific musician and the vocalist behind the screeches and screams heard on the tracks by bands like Phryne, Seas Of Winter, and Apricitas, among others. (Fans of the show should recognize at least two of those names.)

You may think that the fact that these two names repeatedly come up in my history as both a DJ and a musician may sway my opinion on this track, but to be honest, my foresty friends....your goblin queen's opinion doesn't need swaying. It's Buddhist ritual ambient, and as a practitioner of Zen, student of the occult, and host of a radio show with "ambient" written all over it, those three words are more than enough to grab my attention. This dynamic duo was kind enough to let us premier this fantastic beast of a track on our first recorded episode, and while we haven't gotten the pleasure of a full album from these two yet, the nearly eight minutes of material we have is enough to leave me wanting to hear more.

The track opens with Cicatrix's droning, lonesome guitar playing and the sounds of Espi's lovely chanting, mesmerizing the listener as if their voice were the sway of a censer, preparing the mind for entrance into a meditative state--and then abruptly drops into the squeals of static and distortion. Normally, a change like this would effect the tone of the piece, and to be honest it caught your beloved goblin queen off guard at first, wondering if a more caustic sound were about to come emanating from my speakers. What happens next, however, is a beautiful marriage of dark ambient, slow, lonesome chants, and almost post-rock-esque guitar work which relaxes and enchants the listener. The static and chants brush off of each other like a hake brush on a Zildjian--gentle, yet percussive--and the whole piece flows like water down a parched soul's throat.

I'm really excited to hear what the pair have in store for us next--expect a full album review whenever they have something ready for all of us to enjoy. In the meantime, we have a review of the new 1727 & Möbius album on deck for Friday, and a new show premiering, as always, Monday night at midnight MST.

See you soon, my lovelies.

--SARAH

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