Ashkelon Sain / Soriah


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Soriah's collaborative work with Trance to the Sun's Ashkelon Sain on 2009's Atlan made perfect sense as something to be released on Projekt thanks to the hushed and echo-laden feeling of the album, so it's little surprise that the duo made a return appearance with Eztica, another collection of songs titularly invoking a pre-Spanish conquest past from Central America but drawing on any number of traditions from around the world. Soriah's own throat singing-inspired vocal approach remains paramount, often a low, droning burr on songs like "Ximehua" and, at other times, aiming for dramatic pronouncements as on "Xiuhcoatl" and "Iix." Given that the visual and performance aspect of Soriah's work is by necessity lost on the album, though, the focus on musical texture in his work with Sain makes perfect sense, though one can almost sense the vivid costumes that he creates and wears, not to mention the staging. Some pieces eschew vocals entirely, or at least appear to, concentrating instead on a kind of environmental/instrumental blend that suggests such performers as Popol Vuh, Ghost in their quieter moments, or some of the work of Projekt labelmate Forrest Fang. When loud guitar suddenly arcs in on "Temicteopan" and hovers in the background, Soriah's deep whispers act as a remarkable balancing counterpoint, in ways a perfect summary of this unusual, intriguing return effort.

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