Saturday, 25 January 2020

Akoustik Timbre Frekuency - Evolution [New Year Rite]

Album: Evolution [New Year Rite]
Artist: Akoustik Timbre Frekuency
Catalogue no: ATF03

     1.      Evolution [New Year Rite]
     2.      Evolution [Isolated New Year Rite]

As a species, humans like to mark significant events or to memorialise changes whether they be something as small as a birthday, the supposed birth/martyrdom of a religious figure, or when the seasons morph into the one following. In tune with this innate drive many societies over the millennia have formulated rituals and ceremonies designed to celebrate these events, both as a means of marking them and of bringing together people as an act of societal cohesion. Even these outpourings of devotion have evolved, certainly in the private sphere anyway, as these days it appears that individuals are wont to craft specific rites to reflect personal connections and beliefs. This recent release from Akoustik Timbre Frekuency is one such, although strictly speaking this is a reissue that was released as a CDr many years ago by Quartier23 as part of their ‘Ritual Musick Series’. Evolution [New Year Rite] was originally recorded on New Year’s Eve seventeen years ago as a ritual performance and is now re-released as a two-tracker – the original release and the isolated audio recordings of the performance.

From the very note of track one, mournful howls and whistles portray the last throes of the old year, the slowly fading ghost of the presiding spirit of the journey around the sun just gone, as well as a cacophonous sending off as if to drive away an unwanted lingering guest. It’s extremely visceral, shamanic, and in the moment, a necessarily chaotic and unstructured approach in response to the celebrant’s immediate surroundings and the prevailing atmosphere, as much of a description and narrative of the inward forces moving the participants as it is of the event/performance itself. It’s also almost as if the ritual has manifested every denizen of the hidden dimensions into material form, and then given them licence to create merry havoc for the brief tenure of their corporeality. It’s simultaneously joyful yet dangerous, uplifting yet hair-raising. There are moments, especially towards the end of the track, where shivers ran up and down my spine, with a tingling frisson always present throughout the entire running time.

In direct contrast to the dense layering of the preceding track, the following isolated instantiation is stripped back completely and is, in some respects, much more primeval and subterranean, relying even more heavily on atmospherics plus an uncluttered, therefore more direct, approach to primal connections. Just like the treated track, there are entities here but they’re much more obscure and preternatural, scratching and skittering, harking back perhaps to a dreamtime before the world became as it is now. Those reverberations echo down through time from that deep past to the now, carrying with them the same primitive appeal and the same pregnant meanings, of the possibilities and potentialities of the new. If the previous was the seeing out of the old year, then this surely is the welcoming of the new one, an exhortation to embrace those proffered possibilities and potentialities with open arms. One can almost feel the weight of aeons in every guttural utterance and unidentifiable scratch and click on here, a crushing weight that says nothing more than humans are perhaps neither the first ones here nor the prime intelligence governing the globe. There are others ever-present, obscured behind veils only the sensitive and enlightened are able to see and comprehend. They are watching us, and perhaps judging us.

It would be fair to posit that this album fulfils the two sides of man’s nature – the bestial and the search for betterment. In essence, New Year’s Eve is supposed to delineate a moment of change, of forward movement, a reminder to look in front of us and not behind, that if we don’t make the attempt to evolve the human state to something more refined then we’re doomed to repeat the same old mistakes that we’ve always made. On a personal level (and very curiously) I felt this album deeply, in spite of trying to remain neutral as a reviewer. I suppose there are just some things that worm their way in and take up residence, whether they were given an invitation or otherwise.

Available as a digital album from here:

Psymon Marshall - 2020.

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