One of the least practiced genres of progressive music is the niche classically occupied by Popul Vuh, Third Ear Band, Dzyan, and a small handful of other ensembles. It's an eerie but darkly exhilarating mode, and one is never quite sure how to embody the slot: neoclassical? mutant folk? space gypsy? This realm exposes the kind of unnerving but familiar cacophony one would not have been surprised to have heard the Weird Sisters in MacBeth playing on their Walkmen as they cast spells, read runes, and passed the bong around. Natural Snow Buildings is not what it sounds to be—an ensemble—but is actually a duet, Mehdi Ameziane and Solange Gularte, dedicated to art qua art and a unit which can boast a back catalogue of limited-edition releases that sold out almost as soon as they made it past the doors of the pressing plant. That's how dedicated their fan base is, and that's why you could never find any of their stuff—until now.
Ba Da Bing Records has re-released the 2008 Night Coercion into the Company of Witches in both vinyl and CD formats because demand warranted it and because it'd be a damn shame were this material not to reach a good deal more ears. In CD, that means a 3-disc configuration while the vinyl is 4 discs. Both, however, are well priced (CD - $17, LP - $45) within easy reach of fans of the respective formats. As said, Coercion sounds like a small orchestra of players but is multi-tracked in psychedelic ambient mode seemingly taken live from a Wicker Man celebration. There are six long songs spread over three loooong discs, starting with the tribal Kadja Bosou which breaks crushingly into Night Coercion. What was an orgy of bells, whistles, chanting, ululating voices, myriad percussives, and God only knows what else is suddenly flattened by distorted power chords setting up a whole new terrain before falling back into another twisted evocation of dronery.
Ameziane and Gularte, when you catch their snapshot, are just two smiling hippy-ish individuals, but when you toss their music on, you'd swear they're philosophical vampires with Byzantine perversions waiting for Dario Argento to show up and start the Black Mass. Then Broom, Trapdoor, and Keyholes falls into place, and one suspects Florian Fricke kidnapped Hari Deuter and Laraaji, dosed 'em with ketamine, sat down opposite, and flicked on the Tascam as they began raving on their instruments. No matter where you go in this carnival of ghosts, werewolves, drowned monasteries, and Druid rituals, enthralled, entranced, geased, and glamoured, you're going to be looking over your shoulder, starting at strange noises, and hunkering down for an onslaught of crazed feudal townies and ravening monsters…with maybe a cacophonous fairy bazaar or two for some sense of relief. Whatever the case, Natural Snow Buildings is, don't fool yourself, the Renaissance Faire staged inside a satanic Bedlam. Step inside the gates, won't you?
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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