Kundalini by VelgeNaturlig

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VelgeNaturlig | Kundalini
Winter-Light (CD/DL)

We ease into the drifting drone of Portugese sound artist VelgeNaturlig (Ivo Santos) as he releases Kundalini on Dutch imprint Winter-Light. Blurring the lines of mystics and surveyors the setting is a many layered set of grey tones and soft bass harmonies on Padmasana. The air is ever-shifting, yet dense like an ominous fog. The dozen tracks here merge without pause into one another. What sounds like gongs or bowls are scraped ever-so-gently to form a cyclical passage of sound where wind rustles through the trees and from left to right channels. It’s so subtle but the cascade is effective.

With the fading effect of insects and night breezes the atmosphere feels to be one at an altitude like a rocky cliff above the sea. The rough murmurs of movement surround you, but invoke a lull of sleepiness. Grey Sun and Secret Dialogue take several liberties with enchanting percussion and Indian folkloric harmonies, you feel enveloped in a churning scope of seductive and psychedelic effects that flow outward from the deep drone core here.

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The next two tracks, Reflux and Indra seem like a bit of intermediate oblivion, floating between worlds of routine and invention. Once Matariki starts there’s a whole shape-shifting in terms of mood. It’s inquisitive, minimal, balanced way down low. Aside from the continuum of chilling drone Santos adds a wealth of metallic feedback and other resisting synchronizations. He offers a trippy set of noise experiments that break the easy flow and offer up a bit of tension here. By the end of this eleven minute piece the belly of the beast seems calmer. And along comes Flow, setting yet a new tone to the surroundings. It’s in daylight hues, and there are small tasks at hand. The harmony is sunken and oblique with sounds like manipulating broken pottery in a body of water. It’s a distant cousin to something that is along the edges of industrial, but actions are done primitively by hand. Throughout I get this genuine feeling of cleansing – literally and metaphorically.

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Urur retracts the tail-end of Flow with a quizzical transition into something far more hypnotic and investigatory. The metallic patina here feels mythical, especially with the blended deep forest effects that surround the space. It pulses with a foreign glow, like accidentally revealing ancient treasure of some sort. In fact, the press notes kind of pinpoint the impression I’m getting at: ‘Kundalini’ is an album of true awakening, invoking a clash of primordial sounds and energies. Let the currents flow…..”

The currents are of course electronic (as heard on Tara), but could refer to the essence of water (as I’ve mentioned), or even the internal human impulses triggered by a good deep listen. Whatever your personal flow, when the final track, Unboundedness opens it’s as if we’ve reached some plateau or end point. Noticeably darker, the repetitive rhythms are bouncy and wave-like. Even when rescinding into the blur of drone there’s an emotive side that keeps calling back, like spirits of a bygone time and place echoing back in the shadows. This final piece is the most all-encompassing work, and VelgeNaturlig leads up to and through this thickly submerged perfect illusion so sensitively. As it fades out shadowy traces remain like residue long after the record runs out.

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