we are the spirit of forest
our howling has been offering to the many goddesses of the valleys
they teething our emptiness
they. licking the stars, until white holes appear in our sky
through them towards regenerative guides of the tonal-morphic omni-verses
Mind-blowing investigation of immersive listening fields, earth-drones, electro-acoustic ritual and zoned psych from this duo formed by visual/sound artists Hitoshi Kojo and Michael Northam. This is the duo's first release, compiled and edited together from a run of guerilla performances that took place in the open air, in nuclear bunkers and perched on high hills in the alps ala Taj Mahal Travellers. The music exists somewhere in the conceptual nexus between The Skaters (the most overt comparison), the Jeweled Antler collective, sound/tape artists like Ghedalia Tazartes and the Three Poplars cultus of Mirror, Andrew Chalk, Christoph Heemann, William Basinski et al. There are short track that feature distant bell tones, moaning vocals and solitary wind instruments that sound like the ritual forms of Ghost given a more thorough performance-specific re-think by NNCK, all bookended by longer pieces that feature primitive electronic trance-works that combine surrendered voids of almost-tone with tiny sounds, bowed objects, organic drones and a use of distant, partially obscured melodies that is extremely evocative. Kodama manage to reconcile physically transcendent drone work with a tactile earth ritual feel in a way that feels extremely psychedelic and more like a group playing live than some dull-minded loop station and backing tapes schtick. If you dig The Skaters and are especially attuned to communal improvisatory attempts at group levitation then this is surely your ticket. "We are the spirit of forest. Our howling has been offered to the many goddesses of the valleys. Teething our emptiness they, licking the stars, until white holes appear in our sky through them towards regenerative guides of the tonal-morphic omni-verses. Using found objects to seduce voices from unlikely sources as well as traditional instruments of wind, wires and wood. Kodama weaves between emotional poetry and dynamic
forces of noises. The recordings have a strong atmosphere of each location -- the top of a mountain in Switzerland, a campground in Ohio, Lofoten Island in Norway, the arctic circle in Finland, Niagara Falls, etc. It includes a lot of the dirts of the raw recordings, but also incredibly beautiful moments such as the session with an owl in a Slovenian forest, an alpine summit singing meditation under the vast galaxy, and an encounter with the small people through strange ritual..." - HK. Limited pressing of 500 copies. Covers & insert printed on 2-color offset press with illustrations and design by Hitoshi Kojo. Highly recommended.
by Volcanic Tongue
Favourable coincidences are not the only thing a musician needs to break out of today's conundrum-like maze-shaped pile of cassette tape/CDr/bootleg driven artists, as I used to think. No-Neck Blues Band, Natural Snow Buildings, Pocahaunted, Emeralds - even the recent Golden Jooklo Age - have, beyond these coincidences, an expertise in presentation. Despite it seeming an oxymoron or something most music geeks would be reluctant to admit, the visual factor is an important ingredient in the process of discerning the good from the exceptional. I'm not talking about one facet of the aesthetic side of music - it's a tally of disparate elements that make a band visually pleasing, ranging from cover art to clothing, press photos, live act design and more.
On top of the visual aspect, the bands I've ennumerated add something else from time to time: a willingness to let out their collective groove. Their jams and improvisations sometimes add up to a tangible climax. Kodama are too young a collective to display any of those two qualities, but, in turn, are a prime example of an idea that has succeeded even with the lack of both.
Please forgive me for my already over-long deviation - it is only meant to indicate different factors that should be taken into account when discussing this type of music. Turning Leaf Migrations is a prime investigation that comes through because it's grounded. No needless basement improvisations that strive to iterate contrived acid trips are to be found here. The often superficial need to loosen the threads is avoided by the duo's attempt to examine a new trajectory: the extraction, dissection and taming of the feral constituents of the anthropocentric remnants of our ethnic origin. An experienced ear will discover many themes or gradually constructing subplots within its larger structure, as the textures are rich enough to embellish and shelter each other from the pointless revamping that an analysis coming from the human mind will perform.
It's a work of technical beauty generated by creative beauty and I'm not afraid to say the world needs more of those. Hermetism meets a new way of existence. The leaf is turning and so are the possibilities of musically and artistically exploring distant realities, whether it's done by contextual means, like Jana Winderen's efforts, or by a new way of descriptive storytelling - Kodama.