Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Sádon & Treha Sektori - Symphony of Dying

Album: Symphony of Dying
Artist: Sádon & Treha Sektori
Label: Cyclic Law
Catalogue no: 146th Cycle

     1.      Sádon – Shadow
     2.      Sádon & Treha Sektori – Elimination
     3.      Sádon & Treha Sektori – Wolf’s Day
     4.      Sádon & Treha Sektori – Spear Over our Heads
     5.      Sádon – Aegeus

There are times when I feel that the word ‘gothic’ is bandied around too much, especially when it comes to describing something dark or melancholic, whether it be a painting, a book, or music, as in this case. Even though gothic originated as an architectural term to describe a style of cathedral built during medieval times, gothic only really achieved its apotheosis during the Victorian era, with its overwrought architectural flourishes and attitude to death and dying. And, listening now to this stark beauty of a release, it is very much reminiscent of the Victorian gothic revival, deeply melancholic and possessing a sense of sweeping grandiose tragedy. Imagine, then, a Victorian-style painting, picturing a lone widow standing by a freshly dug grave clutching her shawl about her throat, her young child clinging desperately and sadly to her skirts, the sky above an oppressive blanket of heavy black clouds, while a chill, uncaring wind whips her clothing around her body. This is exactly the atmosphere this five-tracker elicits, drawing a powerful picture of both sadness and melancholy as well as poesy and beauty.

The cortege begins its slow progress in ‘Shadow’, a wind-borne lamentation for the dead, a voice wailing into the lowering clouds above. Those clouds are pregnant with rain, and every second they threaten to give birth to a downpour. When the rain does come, will they be tears for the departed soul, or for the mourners? ‘Elimination’ continues the mood, plangent guitar notes overlying a string-like drone, the same voice from before again crying to the air, its timbres and tones flying to the heavens, perhaps like a dove ascending to seek the sun. Notes of anguish intrude as the track progresses, another song of mourning for what has been lost and will never return. Do we weep for the dead, or for ourselves?

‘Wolf’s Day’ opens with majestic string strains, accompanied by voices far in the distance, an ancestral calling inviting us to enter the wildwood, to return to the ways our forebears once held dear, a way of bringing us back into the fold. One can easily imagine being wilfully lost in a vast forest, a temple of trees, their trunks the columns holding up the roof of the sky, and rarely glimpsed wolves acting as the guardians protecting it from the profane. We are always aware of the sanctity of this place and its sacred nature, and that we must not defile it. ‘Spear over our Heads’ is a mournful but simultaneously reassuring elegy, a pointer perhaps to the guardian deities protecting our bodies and souls. Lilting strings wrap us in warmth and love, while sustained drones glide around us and coalesce into a kind of protective spiritual armour. It may appear to be something of a melancholic piece, which it is, but it is also a signal that the strength of our ancestors is still there for us to rely on, and that the glory of nature is both our shelter and inspiration. Having embraced it once again, it is ours forever, and more than that, our connection to it has been firmly re-established.

‘Aegeus’ closes out proceedings, swirling in with more strings, droning darkly in the lower register. Aegeus is a mythological figure appearing in the founding myth of Athens, a goat-man who, along with his brothers, retook Athens from the usurping Metionids. He was the father of Theseus (of Minotaur fame), who also was one of the founder-heroes of the foremost Greek cities. The grandiose sweeping nature of this track befits the epic stature of the man known as Aegeus, portraying him as a steadfast, strong, and implacable hero. The music itself feels as if its roots belong not to the now, but to the ancient past, a past that is only now reaching out to us via Sàdon.

One cannot help but make a comparison here with the style and sound of the output of 4AD Records, of Dead Can Dance in particular. This is not meant as an insult – rather it is a compliment, the grandiosity and sweep of the music absolutely pitched perfectly and without any pomposity or grandstanding. Even though it’s a short album, there’s so much going on here, so much emotion compacted into each piece, that its effectiveness is a marvel to behold and a joy to listen to. One can easily imagine listening to this on a winter’s evening, looking through a window on which rain spatters, and each droplet of water trickling down the pane under its own weight.  We watch with fascination as individual drops head inexorably downward, a notion which inevitably makes us wonder about our own track through this thing called life.

That is the beauty of this album – its ability to seep into our very fibre, to spark musings and ponderings about ourselves and our place in the scheme of things. Admittedly, normally I am not one to lean toward gothic melancholia, but this wormed its way into my cells, and made me listen and think. It made me think of my own mortality and, in a strangely morbid moment, about how real worms will one day burrow into my skin and return me to the earth. Bizarrely perhaps, I found some comfort in that – that I am part of a cycle of life.

Highly recommended.

Available from Cyclic Law’s Bandcamp page, in a limited edition CD of 500 in 6-panel Matte Laminated Digisleeve, a limited edition of 300 black vinyl LP in Matte cover with printed inner sleeve, and a digital download:

It can also be purchased from Cyclic Law’s official website:

Psymon Marshall 2020. 

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