Halo Manash – Caickuwi Cauwas Walkeus CD Aural Hypnox 2014
Any new release from Halo Manash is welcomed news and whilst this is technically not a new recording this will constitute an unheard album for most listeners. Effectively this album is a re-release of the impossibly limited original version, issued in 2009 in a ridiculous edition of 29 copies. This current version comes in 444 standard copies and 49 special wooden box-set copies and has been issued on the new Stellar Mansion series, which has been established under the Aural Hypnox banner, with a mission statement of: “…presenting past Helixes transmissions, sent back from distant stars…”.
With the title translating to ‘Afar Echoes the White Light’, the album captures the trademark ritual ambient music of Halo Manash, which is also most comparable to the abstract stylistic slant of the Forest Music trilogy of ‘Language of Red Goats’, ‘Am Kha Astrie’ and ‘Taiwaskivi’. Of the 5 interconnecting compositions (spanning 43 minutes), they flow forward at a catatonic pace, where each ritual ambient movement merges seamlessly with the next. Interestingly the promo blurb outlines that this album has been recorded using only acoustic instrumentation with no studio overdubs, which makes its droning ritual atmosphere all the more engaging.
To facilitate full immersion into the album’s atmosphere, slow ritual chimes function to provide some melodic undertones and a vague sense of structure, whilst slow thumping ritual percussion provides a heartbeat like pulse to proceedings. Likewise a droning ritual undercurrent is created by the percussive notes of gongs and chimes which shimmer and ring out as echoed reverberations, whilst wood wind instruments and horns mournfully wail somewhere off in the distance. Ultimately this is extremely ‘visual’ ritual ambient music which articulates emanations from the spiritual either and gives rise to mind’s eye visions of: a hazy twilight setting; forest branches spanning overhead forming a natural cathedral; tendrils of incense smoke rising from a makeshift altar etc.
Noting the limitation of the original edition, it is a certainly a welcome addition to Halo Manash’s discography to have this album issued in a more generous number. Likewise it is worthwhile noting that the material herein is as strong as any Halo Manash have released to date and should allay any concern that this material might have been considered second-rate thus warranting its original limitation. As with all Aural Hypnox releases, this is issued in special handmade cardboard cover, here featuring archaic card stock and completed with screen printed images. Again Aural Hypnox deliver ritual ambient of the highest order and a feast for the eye and ear.