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the nacrasti
malignant antibody   2002

album rating: 3

submitted by jc smith on 13-Aug-2002
The strangely titled Nacrasti references an "ancient desert culture advanced beyond its time, yet long forgotten by history" as its inspiration. Through the meticulous manipulation of a vast array of sound sources (sampling, location recordings, electronics, and the more oblique hex embrace and "vocal forms"), R/A/A/N lead the listener on a journey through a multi-layered aural landscape of rich designs so perfectly conceived, one can feel the heat from the sand scorching one's feet. No matter what the esoteric inspiration, the results are nothing less than extraordinary. The deep rumbling pyrotechnics of Arrival Of The Sek, throb ominously‹subtle tribal inclinations sounding like the mechanized heart of the earth. The sounds scale layers of twitchy, tinny electronic debris, leaving a fossilized impression (traces, snippets transformed by sound) of insect life of an archaic ancestry rising to meet cosmic winds. A turbulent windstorm is expelled from an ever-widening abyss, swirling from the soul of blackness to the barren, starlit sky. The mirage that is Festival Of Surmelk features ragged, quivering cliffs that seem to crumble via attrition, or possibly their own internal instability (after all, it is a mirage). Timbres ripple and reverberate, accompanied by the slow ascent of sparse synths, while unknown winged beasts ponder flight from their perilous perches, piping brittle, almost bagpipe tinted nuances to the empty plains below. Tizh Of Runn contains harsh desert winds whose exhaled breath (again, there is an undercurrent of life, even if it is vague) is more like frozen horns, the rhythm riddled under a multitude of cloven hooves and garbled noise that hints at language. The wind/music escalates as the track progresses, urgency at the helm. Moaning shadows introduce The Ativvi Culmination, followed by a train clicking along alien tracks. As movement and intent shift, agitated tones spew venom on the shroud of impenetrable darkness. Throughout, the music of R/A/A/N is fluid, texturally dense and droning, strangely hypnotic and hazily melodic. I am reminded of Lustmord (!) and Inade (!!), of the buzz and murmur of the brilliant Chaos As Shelter, but that's only to say that these bands embroider different patterns into similar, delicate sonic fabric (before crumpling up said sonic fabric and creating their own distinct sonic origami). R/A/A/N's sophisticated, convoluted molding of sound sources is very indicative of what the label (Malignant Antibody) specializes in. The Nacrasti is a wonderful listening experience!

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