Thursday, 25 July 2019

Sol Mortuus & Nubiferous - Sorni-Ekva

Album: Sorni-Ekva
Artist: Sol Mortuus & Nubiferous
Label: Black Mara
Catalogue no: N/A


     1.      Sol Mortuus – Marija Tump
     2.      Sol Mortuus – Frozen Equilibrium
     3.      Sol Mortuus – Six Shamans
     4.      Sol Mortuus – When the Snow Lies Red
     5.      Nubiferous – Itterma
     6.      Nubiferous – Kojp
     7.      Nubiferous – Chistop
     8.      Nubiferous – Tetta-Imilja

Sorni-Evka is a split album released by Novosibirsk’s Black Mara label, and features two of Russia’s exponents of texturally complex and viscerally emotional dark ambient and ritual folk, Sol Mortuus (The Dead Sun) and Nubiferous respectively, with each project contributing four tracks. Only traditional ethnic instruments are employed here – gusli (a type of harp), traditional harp, kalyuka (an overtone flute), tambourine, bells, and percussive instruments. At its heart lies the legend of the Golden Woman (Золотая бабаzolotaya baba) of the Siberian shamanic tradition and, as such, propels us into a primordial world in both time and location, and places us at the intersection between the two realms (the earthly and the supernatural).

I think it would be accurate to say that shamanism was amongst mankind’s first exercises in attempting to contact and commune with the denizens of the ‘other’ realm which many believed existed alongside ours. To this end Sol Mortuus’ opener ‘Marija Tump’ hits the primitive consciousness centres, resonating with a deeply felt vibration that more than hints at the existence of this parallel world. And this is achieved with no more than something akin to a jaw harp, flute, percussion, and a deep male voice. It reaches back into the past and pulls it into the present. And this aspect is Sol Mortuus’ presiding genius, the ability to infuse a sense of the origins of our attitudes and approaches to spirituality, and of the methods created to mediate communication between the material and the numinous. It’s earthy, celestial, chaotic, ordered, resonant, primal, spiritual, necessary, and immediate, bypassing the modern mind to head straight to the ancestral memory buried deeply within. I’ve talked about reconnections before in other reviews, and it’s as true of this one as it was of the other music I was describing.

Nubiferous is a different beast altogether, resonating and radiating from an even deeper, darker region. If Sol Mortuus delineates the ritual aspects themselves, the Nubiferous contributions describe leaving this realm and entering into and travelling through the transitional interfaces, and finally on into the sphere of the extramundane that overlays the prosaic. Shamanism as a practise entails its own dangers, and the other realm contains its own monsters and hostile entities with which the practitioner has to deal. Here deep, stomach-stirring bass rumbles vie with indecipherable breathings and mutterings, crescendos of grainy noise reminiscent of throat-singing, shimmering singing bowls, and percussive punctuations. This music is not just of the shaman himself, but of the very land upon which he stands – the world he wishes to call into manifestation is deeply embedded and intertwined with the one in which we find ourselves. If SM’s pieces were primal, these go one step further, reaching for and connecting with the primordially ordained transmission lines carrying the power buried deep within the soil and rock. This music isn’t just meant to be heard – it’s also meant to be felt. And then, after feeling it deep within, one must let it stir the soul into acting upon its subtle emanations.

Beautiful and immensely evocative.

Psymon Marshall 2019

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