Monday, 19 August 2019

Various - The Black Orb.

Album: The Black Orb
Artist: Various
Label: Distorted Void
Catalogue no: [DV-9]

     1.      Infinexhuman featuring Scythralisa – Burial Rhythm
     2.      ABBILDUNG – Dwellers of Dark Earths
     3.      Alphaxone – Silent Highlands
     4.      Uzbazur – The Witches Ritual in the Wood
     5.      RNGMNN – Euforia
     6.      Adonai Atrophia – Yliaster
     7.      Endless Voice of Entropy – Path into the Nothing
     8.      Jeton Hoxha – Bowed Metal
     9.      Seetyca – Limbs Bent and then Broken
     10.  Chris Russell – Coronium Ore

I find that compilations can be troublesome creatures, mainly for the fact that most times it’s a bit of a lottery. On the other hand, of course, they can also be the gateway to a wonderful assortment of unknown treasures, introducing you to projects you might never have encountered otherwise. Another drawback for the reviewer is that only the highlights are the focus of the review, unintentionally giving out the impression that the other acts aren’t up to scratch.

Infinexhuma’s contribution, assisted by Scythralisa, crashes in on a wave of cymbal-like sounds upon the shores of death, before the transition to another existence is essayed by a floating, hanging refrain, a physical litter made of particles of light heading upwards. Following that, ABBILDUNG’s (‘Dwellers of Dark Earths’) track takes the opposite path, travelling downward into subterranean realms, where the traveller meets with brooding, Hadean silences and the sighs, wails, and laboured breathings of the dead. It’s a mournful, empty composition, indicative of the anguish and grief-stricken state of this depressing place.

We ascend once more, this time to scale the heights, to fly amongst the lofty wind riven highlands in Alphaxone’s ‘Silent Highlands’ – the only inhabitants here are raptors and quarrelling corvids, and the peaks are perpetually blanketed with snow. Nevertheless, the mountains are still magnificent in their isolation, majestic in their ice-clothed flanks. It’s an exhilarating flight, the wind carrying us onward, and the landscape below rushing towards and away from us with astonishing rapidity. At some point though, Uzbazur’s ‘The Witches Ritual in the Wood’ draws us to a dark clump of trees, and our imaginary airborne flight swoops downwards into its midst. Here we find a gathering of the wise-women, enacting an age-old ceremony of connecting with the powers contained within nature and the earth. Spirits abound here, animated by the fires and incenses of the celebrants, whose voices call forth the secret beings behind all creation. Ultimately, as in RNGMNN’s ‘Euforia’, the ritual’s amassing of power results in an ecstatic climax and connection through release, bringing with it an acknowledgement of the reciprocal nature of the transactions, that one side cannot exist without the other, and that the lines of power flow in both directions. ‘Euforia’ speaks of the quiet strength behind the processes of the natural order, and that as a whole nature cannot be trifled without detrimental consequences.

‘Yliaster’ shatters like glass and breaks into millions of sharp pieces: Adonai Atrophia’s offering is the splintering comedown after the high of communion, the reintroduction of the consciousness into the reality of the everyday. It has its advantages: we see things with renewed eyes, the colours are brighter, the scents more beautiful. Yet again, on Endless Voice of Entropy’s ‘Path into the Nothing’, the realisation that nature is alive, ever-present, and always fulfilling, sends our souls onto the trail of separation from the material, the egoless state of non-being, where nothing is just as meaningful and substantial as the matter that composes our existence. A prolonged and sustained carpet of shimmering noise propels us to the point, the ultimate singularity, which encompasses all in nothing.
‘Bowed Metal’, meanwhile, is that moment when one realises and senses the movement within this state of no-thing. Jeton Hoxha proposes here that perhaps activity and inactivity are just alternate perspectives, viewed from different angles, on the same quality, and that they should be viewed as the same thing.

Seetyca’s ‘Limbs Bent and Then Broken’ veers away somewhat from the prevailing ambiences of the preceding pieces, but it’s sparseness and bell-like ringing qualities interspersed with quiet notices of some kind of activity nevertheless feel right at home here. This is an elevated kind of ambience, a diffuse and particulated essay in the experience of achieving an exalted state, the acquaintance with a stage of spiritual attainment above the normal. It’s an act of breaking away from encumbrance and constriction.

Finally, we come to the last track, Chris Russell’s ‘Coronium Ore’. A prosaic title for a lilting, glimmering, scintillating piece of music, a dive into the perfect union of all things, material and spiritual, the reconciliation of opposites, and the reunion of all negative and positive qualities. It’s timeless and dimensionless, is limitless and boundless, and yet it occupies a space that is immeasurably small.

I have written far more than I intended to, however, upon listening to it as a whole it dawned upon me that there was a narrative thread binding it all together, and that if I omitted one piece then it would remain indecipherable and obtuse. It flows effortlessly, the compiler perhaps knowing that compilations must possess a rhythm and flow of their own, and that that aspect of it is as essential as the music itself. Let me end this exposition by saying that this is immensely worth your time and extremely rewarding.

Available as a download only from here:

Psymon Marshall 2019. 

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