Chi Factory | The Mantra Recordings
Astral Industries (2xLP/DL)
Dedicated to the life and work of Robert Lax (1915-2000), the American “dreamcatcher” poet who lived on Patmos, Greece. The recording is eighty-four minutes in length, consisting of four equal parts that are part chant, part field recording and most definitely all in a hazy dreamstate. Muffled voices mix with Middle Eastern-themed melodies at a swelling crawl, lymphatically oozing between trains of thought. Within these deep corners of mindful matter, a piano riff peers effortlessly, as does a synthesized granular mix that chugs along to clucks and barks. It’s as if they have captured the very moment when an episode of the Twilight Zone was being broadcast in a distant rural location for the first time.
Between its sound effects, its distant trains and tranquil tribal drumming, this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink recording is intensely evocative of the way the human mind runs its reels while wide awake. There are as many salient moments of patience and meditation as their are those in transient directionless-ness. Part of this grounding comes from the sounds of television and/or other radio transmissions. The percussion that fluctuates throughout is the centering device of the record, its mantra (so to speak). There are moments when I think I’m hearing things, like Lakmé by opera great Delibes, but it’s not there, I rewound this to double-check. It simply triggered it from memory. Somehow this recording, in all its variable low end, seems to induce auditory visions.
A Real Dreamcatcher: Suddenly I find myself on a small deserted island, alone, but surrounded by only the horizonline and crystal waters that are lapping, pulsing, like a heartbeat. As the washed out whispery drone moves on there’s a melody playing in the most remote distance. And a spell takes me over as the flute or pipe spins an infinite figure eight. There’s a whole lot of thin layers between the city and me at the moment, even though I know somewhere in the back of mind that I’m sitting in the center of it. This gingerly lulls your senses into letting go and doubles as incredible mood music. Let the music take you there….