Tuesday, July 7, 2020
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Artist: Betacicadae
Title: Mouna
Format: 12"
Label: Elegua Records (@)
Rated: *****
A piercing sine wave tunes listener's mind on the charming listening experience offered by multi-instrumentalist and photographer Kevin Scott Davis aka Betacicadae, who squeezes a couple of years of spiritual vicissitudes and rebirth as well as some field recordings he grabbed in a rainforest in Hawaii (the initial track "Pahoa" seems to be a reference to this location), in a farm in Sheridan, Oregon, and in other urban centers before they got layered with an remarkably wide array of acoustic and electronic sounds coming from guitars, harp, violin, vibraphone, percussion, wood flute, effects pedals, synthesizers and digital processing, on his debut release "Mouna" (a spiritual practice whose name derives from Sanskrit word "mun", meaning "measure" or "silence"). Its pace sometimes resembles some affiliations between exotic ambient, therapeutic music and post-rock due to the occasional grafts of some instrumental jets, eruptions and strokes, but in spite of the abrupt interruptions of each track which sometimes occur when they begin to emit dreamlike scents, the narrative trend "Mouna" manages to render into headphones makes it really engaging without recurring to hypnagogic evennness of drone-ambient or other unuseful melodic-related gimmicks and curlicues. After the above-mentioned tuning sine wave, nocturnal insects and other field recordings, almost imperceptibly trembling hi-hats spout on a luminescent choral orchestra, which surrounds listener by an entrancing dead calm mayhem, on "Pahoa", one of the most catchiest track of the entire album, which precedes the cameo "Small Interlude", a sort a nap, as suggested by the initial snoring, where wind chimes, radio waves, interferences and other voices sound like transient interceptions of dreamer's mental activity, which goes ahead over cosmic fugues on the following "Seti", where delicate jazzy tolls on vibraphone and cymbal glisten with chirping birds, who greet listener on the mellow web of radio frequencies, lethargic guitars and languid static noises of the enthralling "Gold Country". The last track of A side, "Jjjjj", is another highlight of the album: the eerie introduction by a soft buzzing drone, waterfalls and opaque tuning of an electric guitar gets flattened by a deeply lukewarm organ, which is going to leave a sediment on listener's soul. The opening track of B side, "Pirene", crawls towards New Age sonorities: gurgling waters and distant frogs open the gate of dreams, which sound less veiled on the following "Creakaboo" and the beautiful 12-minutes lasting final soundscape "Telerehabilitation", where somehow colliding sonic elements gradually erect an altar for voice of Helen Funston, who gracefully towers over thin layers of jitters, muffled guitars, hissing church organs.


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