Halo Manash – Haudattujen Valvoja CD Aural Hypnox 2015
Following the closure of the Forest Music ‘treelogy’ in 2009 (i.e. the trilogy of ‘Language of Red Goats’, ‘Am Kha Astrie’ and ‘Taiwaskivi’), Halo Manash returned in 2013 with the far more composed and musically focused released ‘Wesieni Wainajat’ (reviewed here). Now a further two years on, Halo Manash have again resurfaced, where a shift back towards ritual ambient intent is noted. With its musical scope being slightly rougher and droning in execution, evidently the seven ‘movements’ featured herein were previously presented live between 2013-2014 (in Russia Austria, Finland, Sweden and USA). Furthermore the rougher ritualistic tone and focused droning atmospheres can then be put down to the use of predominantly homemade instruments and the methods of recording, which to quote from the album promo blurb: “the sonic-portals or liquid-entrances in ‘Haudattujen Valvoja’ are all authentic live recordings captured on tape with only two microphones in the group’s private Temple Hwaar”.
By way of providing a contextual link, the opening track ‘Wesieni Wainajat’, mirrors the name of the last Halo Manash album. But unlike its more musical predecessor, sonically this track covers deep resonating bass notes, low whispered chanting and general catacombal ambience (cavernous echoes, dripping water etc.). ‘Aaveet’ then moves towards heavier and heaving sonics, as wailing atonal horns and distant metallic chimes provide tonal depth and (unobtrusive) atmospheric clatter, whilst ‘Kanto’ seeks slightly more focused paths, with a slightly woozy mid paced rhythmic bass throb which are coupled with a range of woodwind tones. Late album track Haudattujen Valvoja’ then features as the most individually distinctive with its sparse but echo tinged percussive melody, coupled with distant drones and further whispered chants (in a word: entrancing). But without describing all compositions and their differences, it is of greater relevance that there is a high degree of tonal similarity across the 7 songs (and 72 minutes), which provides for all-encompassing ritualistic atmospheres to immerse oneself in such an elongated meditative journey.
If you have not been particularly taken by prior output from Halo Manash, ‘Haudattujen Valvoja’ will not alter your view; yet equally for all other devotees it is another mandatory journey into the netherworld of the spiritual subconscious. Available in two editions; the first is the regular cardboard foldout cover with booklet and inserts; in addition to a beautiful limited versions which includes a rusted steel plate with special etched symbol and additional screen-printed inserts, all housed in a screen-printed cloth bag.