Parikrama ‎– Manusyaloka [English]


[reviewed by / autor recenzji : Abhishek Pandey || ENG]

In Hindu mythology and the Sanskrit language Parikrama means the path surrounding an object, like an orbit or a revolution or a rotary motion. Manusyaloka also means world of humans or the planet earth. This ambient project is the collaboration between Artin Mucht and Seetyca. “Manusyaloka” is the second album by Parikrama, it seems like an extension to their first album The Silent Bōn.

The album, except for a couple of tracks in the middle, is not completely dark in its core. It’s mystical, it’s sleepy and it often gets a little unsettling and greyish, but overall it sounds very uplifting and pleasingly hallucinatory. This work is really cool but I can’t consider it a masterpiece or rate it very high; the reason is that it presents a very formulaic composing, like the very early works of Biosphere or Robert Rich, but then it lacks a similar sensation of isolation. It does have some meticulously assigned minimal percussion samples, but it lacks variation in the drones. The tracks progress into a dimension but then go very static – however if the whole album is considered as one single track with long evolving acts, which I would love to contemplate it as, then it does hold a lot of weight. The gapless authoring of the tracks also makes it seem like one sole composition. This is one of those albums that need to be played continuously from the first track to the last and in a chronological order.

The first track, “Pubbavideha”, is a minimally textured drone sprouting slowly out of the mute pads passed through a hollow reverb. There are few synth samples that overlap and blend in the pad, but they are very abrupt, almost switching the listener out of their cavernous, mystifying abyss.

The second track, “Uttarakuru”, has a nostalgic feel, strongly reminding me of Norwegian project Phobium. It develops very slowly into a beautifully coated lush pad undulating in a waving motion, topped with some subtly delayed tribal percussive sounds and flute samples, defining the journey that is more visual than aural. It induces a very effective sense of being dazed and gazing vacantly into the distance. As the Japanese call it ‘boketto’, there should be a word in the English language for such activity, or ‘inactivity’ to be precise. We all experience it in several instances, specifically the listeners of ambient music.

“Aparagoyana”, the third track, zooms out from the motive progressed by “Uttarakuru”, bringing us back to the textured exosphere of drones where the first track had left us. It appears as if we are going to descend into a new set of depths from the beginning, but instead it keeps us drifting speculatively in the void till the acoustic loop of plucked strings and crisp tribal percussions balanced with a small tight echo, builds a motive at that very altitude. It finally manages its identity.

The next track, “Jambudvipa”, which is the longest and darkest track in the album, heavily contrasts with the other tracks. Its fabric twists and unfurls through the reverbed space exhaling its spirit over the thin layer of microscopic distortion. “Jambudvipa” has more than one motive and in the later half it goes down the memory lane to improvise the spirit of the previous track, “Aparagoyana”. And it finally fades off into the conclusive structure of this much darker trip than any other track in the album. After this track everything else in this album seems elevating.

The next tracks, “Himaphan” and “Meru” should technically be one single track; maybe the surprisingly long crossfade mix between the two tracks makes it seem so. But then as I’ve already said – this whole album must be imagined as one single track. “Meru” shows its detached personality after a while, it takes it some time to come out in the open, but when it does come out in full swing you are simply amazed by its sheer brilliance. “Meru” is a far more beautiful track than “Himaphan”, or any other track for that matter. It is my favourite composition from this album. It’s considerably dark, and yet merrily attractive. It stirs the senses like nothing else in this album. Apart from its laidback build-up, there is virtually no flaw in this masterpiece. Even after its stretched length I was left gasping for more – a very addictive track. But then I know that if I have to listen to it again and get it to impact my mind to this extent, then I have to listen to the entire album again. And I would gladly do so.

“Manusyaloka” is not at all bad; it is just a little different style of ambient than many other albums in the genre. I would never be disappointed after buying a copy, and tracks like “Uttarakuru”, “Jambudvipa” and “Meru” are simply hard to avoid. If you are not looking for downright dark ambient, and you are not allergic to the lush mystical pad that encourages the feeling of endless ‘boketto’, then this album is definitely for you.

Parikrama ‎– Manusyaloka
gterma, gterma019
CD, 2013

Himaphan / Meru :

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