Various Artists

Ancient Lights and the Blackcore

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Released as part of the Sub Rosa "Utopian Diaries" series, Ancient Lights and the Blackcore approaches, as philosophized upon in David Toop's liner notes, the cinematic potential of music in relation to the effects of hallucinogenic drugs and the summoning of "subworlds." The disc starts with a Scorn track, "Naked Sun," which is less oppressive than their usual work, putting dub bass and a distorted drum loop over distant ambient sounds and decent percussion. Next are three somber tracks by Seefeel, with mostly processed and looped sounds creating a very trancey, almost ritualistic atmosphere. The ritual thread is picked up by David Toop, whose track is actually a field recording done among a group of Yanomami shamans in the Amazonian rainforest in 1978. Meticulously described in the liner notes, the shamans perform a group healing by invoking good spirits and driving out malevolent ones. The unintelligible chanting and growling sounds almost ridiculous, but the track creates an atmosphere which, in addition to its description, makes the listening experience quite fascinating. The last track goes all the way: DJ Cheb I Sabbah's "Why Are You Here?" puts drug guru Timothy Leary's voice into a powerful ambient drone track which draws the glowing constructs between science fiction and fantasy, between the future and the netherworlds an acid-drenched mind might come up with. Overall, Ancient Lights and the Blackcore takes a very different approach to the concept album idea and makes for interesting, intense (if not essential) listening.

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