I covered Natural Snow Buildings last year (here), commenting that those who like ambience, low-key noiseuring, and outré spooky were-folk rattlings would do well to quickly snap up the very inexpensive 3-CD (or more expensive 4-LP) release, Night Coercion into the Company of Witches because this duo's albums sell out very swiftly. Well, that proved to be true—a happy story for the label and musicians but not so happy for those who missed out. This re-issuance, then, of their first three ventures while operating under various identities (all three "bands" in this anthology are in fact just the highly talented Solange Gularte and Mehdi Ameziane) is a response to that phenomenon, to their listener base as well to as a buncha new converts, and provides one and all with a second chance at snagging this very unusual set of musics.
Where, in 2012, I'd noted the pair's affinities with Popul Vuh, Third Ear Band, Dzyan, and others, Snowbringer Cult retains all that and then evidences not only bits and pieces of early Pink Floyd, Amon Duul (I and II), and Wendy Carlos (her magnificent Sonic Seasonings) but also one of Brian Eno's still neglected magnum opuses, On Land. Even fragments of the more outré and border-haunted George Crumb peek out at various times. There are a lot more song cuts on this two-disc gig than were on Witches, but that hardly matters as, no matter what Solange and Mehdi do, it's all of a piece, a continuo focusing in on the demon-haunted wastes of E.R.R Eddison traveled by the ghosts of Ugetsu on a planet of Jack Vance's and Lord Dunsany's creation. The imagery is dark and unnerving even when you're prepared for it, redolent of inky hollows, laconic piney forests, razed horizons, and looming mountains, landscapes so forbidding that one can't help but glance over one's shoulder, licking lips in nervous anticipation, and staring into the corner on one's night-darkened room.
Don't approach this music as you might any other as, even in the far-reaching progrock realm, all of what's here is quite atypical, echoed only by the most unhinged elder electronicists and experimental literary folk constructionists…and when I say 'folk', I don't mean those who reflected Pearl Buck or John Steinbeck—which would be, say, Steeleye Span and Pearls Before Swine—but rather the devotees of Bram Stoker, William Hope Hodgson, and Mary Shelley. Keening wails, ringing barrens, hellish fireglow, and cosmic intrusions are the norm, gingerbread and candycanes so far removed as to be figments of a delusive imagination. There is nothing—I repeat: nothing—reassuring in any of this. The sun has gone out, night prevails eternal, mutants and goblins roam unseen until it's too late, and man no longer occupies the top of the food chain; he has a host of competitors
This set of interleaving albums would be brilliant horror movie soundtracking, but it also epistemologically is rather Freudian in that its eerie refrains tear back the veil of delusion modern societies operate under, a reminder that even though we have faucets and post-its and day-glo billboards, underneath it all lurk monsters. After all, we find ourselves on Slaughterhouse 5. But Vonnegut only got half of it, Lovecraft infused the other part, and Isengrind, Twinsistermoon, and Natural Snow Buildings continue to be the set designers for the sort of mind-theatre that actually operates even better without the celluloid images, leaving you to the recesses of your own id. I, then, suggest you do not walk through the ebony woods but rather run. Sprint. And do not look behind you.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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