Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review: Mohave Triangles - Smoked Mystics (Chemical Tapes, 2011)

Everything on this release is ripe with shamanic imagery with a distinctly modern, geometric-chemical twist (after all, the tape was released on a young Spain/UK based label Chemical Tapes). Hexagons, circles and triangles populate the cover and the cassette itself. At first, the title might seem extremely generic, almost grating (like something out of a psychedelic drone album title generator). But considering the nature of the label and the nature of Mohave Triangles’ music, it begins making sense – one can only wonder what kind of smoke are the mystics inhaling at the Chemical Tapes HQ to release such music. ;)
Robert Thompson’s work has been already featured on Weed Temple and the readers who are acquainted with his work know what to expect: mysterious, drawn-out and relaxing drones which serve as an auditory drug taking the listener to distant deserts and jungles in the style of New Age masters. Thompson, however, eschews the instrumental maximalism many New Agers employ(ed) in their music for the raw, minimal approach, basing almost entirely on synthesizers (and some field recordings). The opening piece, “Unsolved Mysteries / Time Dilation” sees him at his most minimal to date – a dark, initially murky (with teeny tiny arpeggios buried deep in the mix), later clears out to reveal a massive, endless drone with only slight changes in pitch, a foreboding, sustained anti-nirvana, which can be compared to the Bee Mask circa Elusive Lunar Bow or Stephen O’Malley’s guitarless solo work.
If the first side of the cassette was a trip through darker, atonal dronescapes, then the flipside (“Return to Infinity / Smoked Mystics Pt. 1 & 2”) is the reversal and a come-back into the more traditional Mohave Triangles territories of dreamy floaters and sunlit canopies. The dark clouds are gone, and are replaced with spacious, angelic delays and a gentle, undulating melody. Side B stands in contrast to side A in its being more detailed and a little more busy – instead of relying on a single drone it creates an ethereal, New Agey atmosphere not unlike the stripped down, simplified Iasos (simplified without losing its meditative, relaxing qualities!).

No comments: