Music

The 2009 Projekt Record release of SORIAH with ASHKELON SAIN “ATLAN” Atlan has its roots in the ceremonial: ritualism, shamanism, butoh. Master Tuvan throat singer Soriah has teamed with prolific soundscaper Ashkelon Sain to create a masterwork of epic celestial elegance. The eleven tracks employ a host of Central Asian ethnic stringed instruments alongside atmospheric synths and hypnotic hand percussion to form a simmering backdrop for Soriah’s mesmerizing vocals.

Soriah has extensively trained in traditional Tuvan throat singing. Most recently, he was honored as the Third Place winner in the International Symposium of Khoomei Competition, and “Best Foreigner” in the 2008 Ustuu-Khooree World Music Festival in Tuva, where the form originated.

As much as the complex underpinnings of Soriah’s music reach back to Central Asia, he traces his cultural roots to his father’s homeland of Mexico. Soriah’s explorations of Mexico’s cities, wilderness, and eclectic indigenous traditions – as well as his extensive Tuvan travels and musical studies there – have deeply influenced his pan-cultural ethos. Soriah’s interest in contemporary expression through animism and shamanism, and particular fascination with the Aztec mysteries has all substantially informed the material found on Atlan. Of the album’s lyric tracks, five are intoned in the ancient Aztec language of Nahuatl, while two others are interpretations of traditional Tuvan chants.

Producer/instrumentalist Ashkelon has crafted the album’s sound with a seamless, ambient quality, harkening equally to the symphonic and the etherealesque. Arranged in spellbinding tempo, the tracks vary in structure from linear, North Indian styled ragas to rhythmic, esoteric songs to multilayered walls of ambient beauty, all the while retaining an unwavering sense of spiritualism and timelessness.

Atlan is a ritualistic sound adventure. You emerge from a listen with your head swaddled in a pre-linguistic fever dream. Vocals and whispers collide and chase each other through the mix and just when you start to feel comfortable or certain of the terrain, another movement begins and you’re back in the mist. With closed eyes, envision vast steppes illuminated by firelight, or rain falling in deep space, or vanished civilizations – ancient and mysterious yet curiously modern.

2007 Beta-Lactam Ring Records release of SORIAH in collaboration with Lana Guerra “OFRENDAS DE LUZ A LOS MUERTOS”
review by Kieth Boyd…………………………………….I recently read a line of truth that hit me like a pile of bricks. I can’t remember if it was an album title, a chapter in a Buddhist book or what but given that truisms can come from the mouths of saints as well as scoundrels I suppose it hardly matters. The line that affected me so was this, “Bliss and Void Insperable”.I read these words and at first blush dismissed them. At a distance they don’t appear to have much to do with each other. But still the phrase stuck in my mind and didn’t seem to want to let go. Bliss and void, bliss and void. It cycled through my thoughts at odd moments. I’d be watching ocean waves ebbing and flowing across golden flecked sand and after trancing on the beauty of this for awhile I’d flash on that phrase. It revealed itself to me slowly and made me see both its surface and hidden face. This slow unfolding now gave way and the weight of truth flooded in rapidly. We experience bliss in a fairly specific manner. Bliss is not necessarily pleasure. It is the charge we experience when our nervous system is firing off on all cylinders. It’s the end-point of all fiery extremes and at its heart lies the self-consuming void. From deep in the midst of bliss all identity is cancelled out. Every boundary of body and mind gives way and we connect with interbeing. I suppose sexual ecstasy is one of the more frequent times we experience the Bliss/Void state. Other instances might include deep meditation or exhaustion or the effects of certain drugs. The ultimate meeting place of Bliss and Void however id death. Religion has always held to this as a part of its final mystery. Soriah, Portland-Oregon musician, performance artist, shaman, understands this well. He’s reaching out to wrap his fingers around Death’s ribcage and give it a shake. On his new disc, “Offrendas De Luz A Los Muertos” (Bllr-Records) he’s using his art as a bridge towards understanding. We are all going to die. Death is our home. It is the ultimate end road of all “selfness” and as such is perhaps not to be feared but rather embraced. So what does it sound like? Well if you are familiar with Soriah’s last album, ‘Chaos Organica in A Minor” you are in for some surprises. Whereas that album used layers of church organ as a sonic bed, this time out it is primarily a blend of voice, ritualistic percussion and long haunted tones of synthesizers that create the sound. One thing remains a constant from the last disc and that is atmosphere. This is some heady sound here. You emerge from a listen with your head swaddled in a pre-linguistic fever dream. Hoots and whispers collide and chase each other through the mix and just when you start to feel comfortable or certain of the terrain another movement begins and you’re back in the mist. Comprised of two longish tracks, “Offrenda.” is a wonderful and moving piece of ritualistic sound adventure. There is plenty of room within this music for your own visions and dreams. I find it even more pleasing than Soriah’s last disc and that pleasure extends to the packaging. Wonderful Dias de Los Muertos designs festoon the heavy stock board cover. Inside are hand drawn sigils and signs of indeterminate meaning. The care that went into the look and sound of this disc is impressive. Several times during any listen as you are swept away in the clanking and organic soundscapes you will hear a small voice at the back of your awareness whispering, “Bliss and Void Inseparable”.

The 2005 Beta-LActam Ring Records release of SORIAH’s “CHAO ORGANICA IN A MINOR

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