Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mortuus Auris and the Black Hand - The Transit of Venus (Skell 011)

radiating the luminous love of the Morning star.  peace and love to my friends at Humboldt Relief :)

He's back!  It has been a while since the last Mortuus Auris and the Black Hand (MABH) release - aka Peter Taylor.  When I first delved into tapes, he was busy illuminating the excellent discography of Stunned Records.  The split tape with Emuul is one of his best Stunned releases.  Seeing MABH on Skell feels right, as it is home to many Stunned alums.  On his Skell debut, The Transit of Venus,  MABH creates a sonic ritual to the transit of Venus as it crosses paths with the sun.  This phenomenon, as observed from earth, is somewhat of an anomalous occurrence - It occurred in 2004 and before that in 1882. The Transit of Venus commemorated the transit which occurred in June of 2012 - the next occurrence will be in 2117.  The Transit of Venus possesses qualities that distinguish it from its Skell predecessors.  This music is the soundtrack for floating through the ether. While there are moments of disquiet, wonder, shifting sound and capricious energy this tape contains a discernible lightness.  Often I prefer to listen with my eyes closed, enhancing the contemplative/meditative energy of the trip.  MABH employs a myriad of instruments and sources to realize this transit: electric organ, accordion  harmonica, warped vinyl and tapes, radio and vocals.  

One of the standouts from this tape is the first track on side A (Lucifer), 'Contact I'.  The nascent electric organ rises placidly, the radiant tones casting a shadow.  A luminous drone meanders over the opaque star, the concentrated energy pulsating.  Alternating opaque tones drift through buzzing beams of sound, the small black disk of Venus - tantamount to the size of Earth -merely a spec of space dust compared to the prodigious star that is the center of the Solar System.  As the peaceful organ ceases, traces of noise and radio become encapsulated in the highly reflective clouds.  Soon, loops of warped vinyl and tape become disoriented in the searing heat and dim light.  Disparate, inebriated plucked tones wander, until blurred noise signals the ascent of the Evening star.  The flip is just as engrossing.  Once again, MABH exhibits his adroit ability in crafting beautiful ambient hymns with the first track on side B (Sol Invictus), 'Aftermath I'. The embracing drone of the accordion modulates, glistening in the awesome light of the Sun.  Meanwhile, the ritualistic 'Aftermath II'  is one of the most interesting tracks, comprised of vocals and harmonica.  The harmonica has a frayed, quivering quality to it.  However, MABH's vocals make this track shimmer.  The last track encapsulates the aural beauty of the entire tape.

The new batch of Skell - 5 tapes - is highly impressive and The Transit of Venus is the beacon.  While there is not a sound clip for this tape, below you will find some sonic love from MABH's soundcloud page.  The Transit of Venus was produced in an edition of 50 pro-dubbed tapes.  Also, the new batch exhibits the wonderful artwork/designs/image manipulations of Julie Watts, who made the inaugural batch of Skell shine.  There are a few options for purchasing: One may purchase directly from Skell, or through two of the greats, Flipped Out and DNT.

peace and love, friends :)