Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Pistil Cosmos - Smoking Clouds in the Land of Fire (Stunned Records CD-R)

French psych guru Vincent Caylet has apparently made a bit of name for himself in groups such as Monks of the Balhill and "V." Haven't heard from those units yet, but word on the street is that this new solo project--which has releases on labels such as Cloud Valley, Middle James Co. and the Great Pop Supplement as well as Stunned--is a bit of a noisier take on his sound. Given that, his other stuff must be downright dreamy, because Smoking Clouds in the Land of Fire is the work of a talented drone weaver at work in some pretty vaporous realms.

The two cut disc opens with "The Dreamt Language," whose near-choral vocal bellows are looped amongst harpsichord-like string flutters and washes of ambient sound. A tambourine beat comes in as the work lifts itself, exploring the kind of world that the Skaters might if they suppressed their world music flavorings in favor of long sifts through cosmic sands. As layer upon layer are added up, the piece begins to create its own internal patterns that sway about in your inner ear. The sheer density of the loops is the only thing oppressive here as a black hole of blown out vocals and warm undercurrents are strewn atop one another before being left to drift on in support of its own weight. When the rhythm drops out halfway through you are left to bathe in the black waters as their currents take you to some endless nowhere.

The second cut, "There's No Ghost Here," begins with some weird oscillating drone (a real ear deceiver) on to which metallic undulations are mapped. Given its 22 minutes, the piece is able to unfold at an especially slow pace as it digs its zonked hole into the earth. Vocal concerns are voiced wordlessly as the night takes hold on the inner conscious, whose sharp shots of feedback are merely eyes staring back. A way darker take on the sound than the previous track, "There's No Ghost Here" nevertheless has a kind of haunting beauty to it. Whether attributable to the piece's suggestions of the infinite or the personal nature of these works, they have a gripping nature that is a step above a lot of the drone stuff out there. Caylet seems to begin with one idea and spend the rest of the time extrapolating on that, exploring all of its pockets. Of course that doesn't mean there are no sudden changes: harsh noise rhythms do enter to cut off the drone for moments before slipping back in. Yet these are so well placed and timed that they merely feel like brief mental distractions before returning to the environment at hand. As the drones drift off, we are left with the hazy electronic repetitions whose underbelly reminds us of where we have been, rendering it all nostalgia as the grind keeps us centered in the present.

A total beauty and somehow already sold out at source. Stunned's been getting rid of these things quick, but definitely keep your eyes out for it elsewhere. Everything they're putting out is totally worthwhile; keep your eyes peeled so they can keep your cranium peeled.

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