DANIEL THOMAS FREEMAN
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review

Textura



Night of the Ankou, an epic 'postal' collaboration between London-based trio Rameses III (keyboardist Daniel Freeman and guitarists Spencer Grady and Steve Lewis) and The North Sea (Tulsa's Brad Rose), extends the haunted ambient style of Deaf Center into a phantasmagorical zone of peyote-fueled dreamscaping, with the album's three pieces (the first two, each 18 minutes in length, were previously issued in 2005 and are here joined by an eight-minute Xela remix) as out-of-time as the infamous soundtracks Popol Vuh composed for Werner Herzog. (According to legend, the Ankou is a skeleton-ghost personifying death; traveling by night on a small coach drawn by four black horses, the creature collects the souls of the recently departed with the aid of two skeletons who walk alongside the cart and toss the souls into the wagon.)

In the magisterial opener, "Death of the Ankou", the slow, agonized moaning of the titular creature is personified magnificently by a bowed string instrument (presumably a guitar) that's couched within a droning stream of organ psychedelia. The cry almost imperceptibly disappears, setting the stage for a prayerful wake. In what seems a direct Popol Vuh nod, a distant choir appears as a lulling motif halfway through, deepening the meditative feel, alongside delicate acoustic guitar shadings, echoing bell accents, and the keening wail of a bamboo flute. The placid "Night Blossoms Written in Sanskrit" then introduces intimations of hope and rebirth. Soft guitar tones now languorously stretch out over a droning cloud of string and organ tones, the timeless ambiance countered by bright strums. The piece escalates heavenward as angelic exhalations and tinkling patterns appear, with the mood shifting ever so subtly from elegiac calm to paradisiacal splendour. In the final piece, John Twells incorporates ideas from the opening two pieces and adds his own in a Xela makeover of "Death of the Ankou". Twells offers a slightly denser treatment of the material with electric guitar enhancements the immediately identifiable Xela signature. The addition of harp plucks, percussion rattles, and glockenspiel tinkles makes for an interesting elaboration, but the originating material's impact is slightly diminished with its purity lessened. Nevertheless, Type's imprimatur is a virtual guarantee of quality, regardless of the stylistic detour a given release might take, and the magnificent Night of the Ankou doesn't disappoint in that regard; it takes Type in a direction only hinted at in its discography but does so with spectacular results.

2005/07/00

recording

"Night Of The Ankou" cover

Album released Tuesday 18 October 2005 on CDR by the 267 lattajjaa label.


mp3 - "Death Of The Ankou"



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