Saturday 10 June 2017

Dark Music Review – Deus Sive Natura

Dark Music Review – Deus Sive Natura

Review Written By Casey Douglass

Deus Sive Natura Art

Drone veteran Creation VI (Russia) presents us with his debut album on Cryo Chamber.

The cold wind howls outside the warm yurt, the shaman inside prepares the pipe. The inhale is deep. With the exhale he starts throat singing. The smoke dances between drums and bells raised by the rest of the tribe. Sweaty face sway and glazed eyes blink in rhythm with the beat.

This album is a journey of us humans moving through the ages in our universe. Trying to figure out our place within it as we forge myths and philosophies. Build megaliths and temples. Send our prayers into space and bide our time waiting for the miracle.

Recorded on old tapes for a fuzzy warmth. This album uses a lot of acoustic instruments like blockflute, chinese flute (hulusi), shruti-box, harmonica, ocarina, kazoo, bells, chimes, seeds & seedpods. Tribal drums make you feel like you are in the middle of a hypnotic ritual. Recommended for you who enjoy Ugasanie and Paleowolf and field recordings.

I first encountered Creation VI’s work when I reviewed his Myth about Flat World album last year. It was one of the most peaceful dark ambient albums that I had listened to, and it regularly lulled me to sleep (in a good way, that wasn’t a way of saying it was dull, far from it). When I saw Deus Sive Natura (god or nature) appear on Cryo Chamber, I was extremely interested in hearing what he’d created this time. What I found was an album that made use of the kind of shamanic beat and chants that helped me remember how I first began looking for darker, grittier music.

I used to buy CDs from New World Music, and yes, it really is as new agey as it sounds. This was long before I even had Internet access, so dark ambient was totally unknown to me at this point. I purchased Phil Thornton’s Shaman album though, and was blown away to hear something that wasn’t all pan-pipes (I am now violently allergic to pan pipes) and angel music. This was animal and dark and hypnotic, in the way any good shamanic album, in my opinion, should be. Well, after listening to Deus Sive Natura, I now remember why I love this kind of album. That isn’t to say that Deus Sive Natura is new agey, I was just roaming down memory lane, kicking a few stones as I wandered. Oh, and I’ve tried to find out what some of the track names mean via trusty old Google; I’ve used brackets after the titles to indicate what I found.

Ancestral Voice is the opening track of Deus Sive Natura, and features a soundscape that I really fell in love with. The sound of seed pods, a rhythmic chant and an infectious drum beat really creates a space that is trance inducing. I’ve been known to trance journey, and I could feel myself being lulled and pulled by this track. The rhythm feels just perfect and I found it hard to keep my head still as I listened, the pressure building to rock gently forward and back. Ancestral Voice also features some field-recordings: bird chirps, twigs and leaves crackling beneath the feet, and a few floating voices, the titular ancestors maybe. I particularly liked the moment when I realised that the bird chirping had become its own rhythmic beat, and that I couldn’t really recall when it had happened. As I listened, I was a little concerned that I might have found my favourite track straight away. That did turn out to be the case, but there were others that I very much enjoyed too.

Deus Otiosus (“idle god”) follows Ancestral Voice, a track that I felt began with the audio equivalent of a white fog. If the journeying shaman of the first track is now between worlds, Deus Otiosus very much put me in mind of some of kind of shadowy spirit realm. There is a lovely detail sound of what sounded like ankle-bells, setting up the impression of someone steadily walking through the low visibility landscape, the bells themselves maybe employed to scare away evil spirits. I felt that the fog turned pretty black as the track continued, maybe the mind of the shaman shedding its attachment to form as he/she goes deeper.

Deeper in, Cycles of Life is the next soundscape that develops around the listener's ears. A sustained “Ahh” chant-like sound gets us going, a rumbling drum beat its accompaniment. The chants turn more animal-like as the track progresses, the drums becoming a little subdued, field-recordings of snapping undergrowth emerging again. The mental images conjured by this track were of being stalked, maybe even death stalking life. The drum later takes on the aspect of a slow heart beat, chants and a buzzing noise arising as time progresses. The final image this track left me with was of a cracked light bulb with all kinds of flying insects flying towards it, the falling bodies of their incinerated companions adding yet more light to the scene, even as the death toll rises.

Divine Intervention follows Cycles of Life, a track that features what I’d call a shimmering drone-chant interplay that builds into a subtle prolonged “fanfare” , the kind of accompaniment that you might watch solar flares slowly erupting from the surface of the sun to. At around the four minute mark, I thought I heard other vocals in the pleasing wall of sound but that could have just been the way a mind hunts for things. They might have been there, they might not. It was nice none the less. The soundscape does change as the track continues, female singing/chanting adding a lovely dose of flavour and sound to the various rattling, buzzing and wind instrument notes.

The final track is Natura Renovatur (nature renewed, I think), an epic 23 minute finale that revisits a good number of the sounds and styles of the other tracks. Beginning with the gentle sound of wind, a drone soon grows from nothingness, airy movements and subtle chants hanging in the space around the other field-recordings that make an appearance, from bird chirps, to a kind of whimsical squeaking sound. At one point the dominant sound becomes a kind of siren, a kind of blaring sound although that word is too harsh to describe what is a pleasing effect. Natura Renovatur also contains a rhythmic drumbeat that adopts a number of different beats. A satisfying track to listen to.

There we have it. Deus Sive Natura is a stunning shamanic dark ambient album, the swaying drum beats and natural sounds mingling and hooking into the primal depths of the psyche, dragging that little wisp of essence that we believe to be “us” into another plane of existence.

Visit the Deus Sive Natura page on Bandcamp here for more information, and be sure to check out Ancestral Voice below.

I was given a free copy of this album to review.

Album Title: Deus Sive Natura
Artist: Creation VI
Label: Cryo Chamber
Released: June 13, 2017