[Reviewed by stark]
The main point of interest of this German project is Tibetan spirituality and the channels it offers to reach the enlightenment. After several collaborations, “Secret Essence/Sangwa Dupa” is their first full length album since quite a long time.
So how does this “enlightenment” or rather the road leading to it, is perceived by Nam-Khar? Well, let’s be honest; it’s like a massive darkness. But do not confuse this “darkness” with plain evil, the project avoids such a simple and vulgar tricks. It may raise a feeling of anxiety as the bass sounds are deep, the sounds generated by both traditional instruments and the modern electronics are far from being soothing – this is the path the other artists take. Here the soundscapes are painted in black, but even though you feel you’re in empty space, you know it is for a certain purpose. Sometimes you even imagine that you actually see this bright point somewhere in the distance, this almost “literal” enlightenment, even though you’re aware that the real one should be found in your soul.
The source of inspiration is to a certain point similar to projects like Phurpa or Contemplatron, yet these projects focus more on mantric meditation as they draw on the Bon tradition in a more direct manner. Personally I don’t consider “Secret Essence” as a ritualistic music. There’s no mentioned meditation here that much. And it’s not better or worse, it’s different, perhaps a bit harsher or more disturbing, but who said that finding the peace of soul and mind is easy, especially today? In the end this is a very rewarding experience worth spending this hour or so with Nam-Khar – they don’t guarantee that it will be a pleasant journey although if you’re a dark ambient fan, you’re used to such sonic and spiritual experiences. A more than decent album it is.