[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
Shrine’s evolution out of dark ambient continues on his latest and I have to wonder how long it’s going to be before some director gets in touch with him about a project. You see, while so many happily clamor inside that black iron kettle of safe, drifting oblivion this fellow is making good on his escape. With both ‘Ordeal’ and now ‘Celestial Fire’ now brooding about the cabin it’s not a big stretch for him to undertake even more cinematic work, there is just too much atmosphere in what he does now to approach it any other way.
Each element of this tale gets a track of it’s own to revel in; we who partake are the ones who must make sense of the aftermath. He isn’t shy about letting the distortion go into the red, either. When I’m listening to an album and it makes me look at my speakers to be sure they’re not malfunctioning I know I’ve gotten myself into something special; this kind of auditory misanthropy is a treat, especially when it’s at the hands of someone I’ve been following for a while. For four releases now, Shrine has kept up this pressure via his work, keeping me on point every time I cover him
It is never easy to do this, I’d taken a stab at reviewing ‘Celestial Fire’ a few days ago only to delete what I’d typed. He refuses to deliver middling material, even if it is absolutely confounding the first few times you tune in. In distiller’s terms what he releases is straight to the barrel, coming right at you. It may take time to acclimate but eventually you’ll develop a taste for it no matter how much it burns at first. Those are just expectations being expiated.
He, much like I, has no use for Hollywood, preferring to stick with the original intent of his subject matter. So when you slip this one on and look at what this release is all about forget what you know; check your pre-conceptions at the door and soak up these heady mixtures of sound he has somehow managed to conjure. I often wonder how these undertakings are begun, what is the catalyst if any; I’ll go back to the strong sense of narrative he employs just once more and commend him for pulling it off, there are a myriad of others who don’t.
Will there be any collaborations in the future for Shrine? I’m hopeful because if he keeps going the way he is that already short list of musicians I listen to in the style he gets typecast with will only grow shorter. This one puts his back into it when he creates, utilizing the full array of his imagination to deliver us to destinations we didn’t know existed yet are spellbound by upon arrival.
Only a few notes are needed to achieve this and somehow he knows what they are. Every time.