|This self titled seven inch is a truly abnormal journey. Perhaps the first anomaly one notice is that the track titles aren't words as such, they are images. As with everything else about Aluk Todolo, they are obviously related to the occult or mysterious in some way. The band draw their influence from a very wide perspective within this domain and even perform rituals during their recording sessions as well as during live performances. Once you add their quite unorthodox musical blend then you have the whole concept: a search for reaching "elevated levels of psychedelic trance and new states of conciousness." And truly, they are quite dedicated to this conceptual curiosity.|
The "title" first track is a symbol for the demon Marbas (also called Barbas), who, according to the 16th century book Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, can appear as both in the form of a mighty lion or with the likeness of a man. Fitting Aluk Todolo's inquiring nature he reveals secrets, among them the knowledge of mechanical arts and shapeshifting. (Credits to Dinger007 in his review on StonerRock.com. Cheers! Would never have discovered it on my own!) The track is somewhat ambient and contains some industrial elements, but mostly I would call this a highly experimental type of post-rock. It's almost devoid of vocals, but with a mesmerizing rhythm which might wery well have been a tribal ritual. Dancing shadows around a fire where the astral and the "real" blends into a point where the border between them dissolves. It ends with a recording of Alester Crowley mumbling.
I'm also largely indebted to Dinger007 for my knowledge of the title of the second track, guessing correctly that the left long figure is indeed the sigil for the archangel Michael. The circle to the right with the dot in it is Michaels domain in the heavens: The sun. Both come from the occult/mystical teachings of angelology. The music here is very much in the vein of Paul Chain's early improvised stuff, especially his double album 'Violet Art Of Improvisation'. This is undoubtedly due to their common influence from bands such as Can and Neu!, who belonged to the 60's-70's psychadelia subgenre called krautrock. Aluk Todolo continue this tradition but with a very dark aspect to it and the krautrock elements is put to use in a ritualistic fashion, fit for a band who delve into the realms of obscure secrets.
This 7" forced me to explore the krautrock scene a bit, and while there are many big names in that genre, my final conclusion is that Aluk Todolo is, in my eyes, actually just as good at this, if not even better. I would claim that even though the genre is way different, I believe fans of occult funeral doom or dark or industrialized drone might want to investigate this. And if you enjoy Paul Chain's improvisational side then this is definately for you.
Duration : Approx. 11 minutes.
Visit the Aluk Todolo bandpage.