Ulaan Khol


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Steven R. Smith's cryptic (even for him!) Ulaan Khol project reaches a point of closure, at least temporarily, on the third album in the series. As with the previous two releases, all tracks are untitled and there's barely any information about the album made available; Smith couldn't make it any more of a "take it on its own merits" release if he tried. The opening cut of squalls of feedback and free-form noise pretty readily set the tone for the release, but it's not simply just that. The second track is pure power trio celebration, with pounding drums and skybound riff on top of skybound riff on top of further chugging noise. The fifth track takes this and gets even crazier, almost sounding like ten separate riffs at once over a barely audible rhythm section -- there might not even be drums on the track, it's that loud. In contrast, the third song is heavy on the floating drone ambience, spiked with both reverb-heavy basslines and guitar clangor in equal amounts, leading into the fourth where it's a full-band jam but of a calmer sort, guitar chimes and general blissout being the rule of thumb. The sixth track goes into full-volume drone/zone thanks to long guitar parts over skeletal and sometimes not-present-at-all bass, not quite early Ash Ra Tempel but not all that far removed, something which also can describe the final track, at 11 minutes the longest and perhaps the most exultant on the album.

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