Yatha Sidhra

A Meditation Mass

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Yatha Sidhra's only record, the aptly titled A Meditation Mass, is a strange mystical experience stretched over four parts that segue almost seamlessly into one another, though the Spalax CD has a slight break between tracks two and three, where the original record changed sides. (The earlier Laser Edge reissue ran the tracks without the break.) Though the record was released in the early '70s, it has that late-'60s acid-haze, hippie ambience without coming off clich├ęd or dated. It starts off with watery noises and a wind hum, until eventually a flanged acoustic guitar riff gently floats into the mix, very dreamy and hypnotic over the whir of electronics. The piece slowly ebbs and flows as other instruments are pulled into the strange cosmic drift of sounds: washes of cymbals, vaguely ethnic percussions, a flute, vibes, and other sounds, even some group chanting with electronically treated voices, while the guitar weaves steadily to keep it together as it slowly builds up. On the second and third part the band veers into far more free-form improvisation, from jazzy sections with an upbeat swing to electric guitar over a trance-like rhythm to a bizarre drum and flute duel to intense freakouts before once again becoming calm and relaxed. Part four winds the album up where it began, with the acoustic guitar riff and tribal percussion and spacy electronics and flute building up to more chanting -- there is no beginning or end. One might compare Yatha Sidhra with other Krautrock bands like Ash Ra Tempel, Popul Vuh, or Limbus 3, but Yatha Sidhra's striking originality is like nothing else.

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