Saturday, September 25, 2010

Telecult Powers – Return to the Psychic Dancehall : Drone / Noise / Ambient

Reviewed by Gird_09

The recording starts off in a way that sounds accidental and seriously lo-fi. Deeply analogue drones and a pulsing sine wave builds slowly into an increasingly dirty soundscape. The music sounds old, perhaps worn, and in the age of software synths this is a pleasant break. Like something sourced from hidden a tape vault. It makes me think of radioactive reel to reels, accidentally capturing sounds from a vast Soviet nuclear reactor and then slowly deteriorating for years, before finally being rescued and preserved in the early twentyfirst century. Few contemporary recordings manage to convey a feeling of tangible sounds the way this one does.

The second track, a compliment to Michael Bertiaux, is a natural continuation of the first, and while it starts off a bit more directly than the first it also builds for nearly half and hour before ending, perhaps abruptly. You can nearly hear the machines working in the background, and there is nothing remotely human about this music – despite its vitality and tactile surface.

Evidently the music is inspired by William Blake, Khalid Ibn Yazid and August Strindberg. Ufortunately I can't say I know much of Yazid both Blake and Strindberg have impressed me greatly over the years. Recognizing this inspiration provides a passageway into the contents of the music, and reminds me of a quote by the author Knut Hamsun where he described his literary programme. To convey "'the whisper of the blood and the pleading of the bone marrow". This music is surely about the blood and marrow in a very profound and physical way. The music feels alive and dynamic, despite its minimalist nature. Khalid, Blake and Strindberg (as well as Bertiaux) were all mystics with an interest in the occult, and while this music is in no way overtly occult it could perfectly serve as a backdrop to a Strindbergian purgatory, where modern morality and dogmas are burned away by alchemical fire.

Though I personally enjoy the music immensly there is a chance that it could fall on dry ground where casual listeners are concerned. The genre Telecult Powers operates in is certainly not the broadest one, and there is little new here. Still Return to the Psychic Dancehall is absolutely worth a listen or five, and I can easily imagine that hearing something like this live would be very powerful.

The cover matches the music perfectly. Recorded on cassette with a cover that nearly screams "anti comercial" in its demo-execution. The deified pharaonic cobra captures the regal stoicism of the music. The serpent is of course also a symbol of wisdom and secrecy, and coupled with the two egyptian crowns it wears the reference to gnostic mysticism is obvious.

USA, Snake mysteries, Cassette, 2010

1 I was a teenage temple prostitute [27:18]
2 A compliment to Michael Bertiaux [27:10]

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