Halo Manash - Wesieni Wainajat [Aural Hypnox - 2013]“Wesieni Wainajat” is the first sonic offering in four or so years from this mysterious project, who create ritual themed & charged ambient music. This new release offers up three tracks built around simply yet deeply entrancing & dread filled organ drones, subtly manipulated eerier field recordings, and a few minimal traces of other subtle sound matter. It comes in either CD or cassette format- with the CD coming in a edition of 350 copies, and the cassette in an edition of 50 copies. I’m reviewing the CD version of the release.
Halo Manash are part of the Finish dark ritual, drone & occult themed ambient collective/ label Aural Hypnox- which features acts such as Arktau Eos, Zoät-Aon, Aeoga, & Aural Holograms. Each of the collectives releases are built around a fairly sparse yet deeply ritual/occult themed sound, which takes in elements of: organic relic manipulation, minimal Ritual instrumentation & percussion, acoustic & (most) subtle or subdued electric instrumentation, and field recordings. The labels release packaging is always something a bit special, unusual & distinctive - presenting card folders/ or small card boxes filled with ritual yet cryptic themed texts, symbols, illustrations,& pictures ect. All artists with-in the collective manage to create a very authentic, chilling & entrancing take on the whole ritual/ occult themed genre- often leaving much of their releases meaning down to ones own interpretation, or puzzling/ cryptic texts or symbol clues.
Like with all Aural Hypnox releases, “Wesieni Wainajat” comes in some most effectively mood setting packaging. The release comes in a brown cardboard, slightly over sized cd case box- this features on it’s outside a dense screen printed cover, which takes in brown & black inks. The cover design is fairly simple yet effective, with it’s mix of weird blobs & droplets, the bands name tanged by snakes, and a line of almost rune like shapes. Also on the outer cover you get a black text printed spine, and the Aural Hypnox logo on the back of the box. When you open up the box inside you find: a piece of white art paper printed with black, yellow & brown ink. Three photographs showing various ritual object or settings including a rather old looking organ. And of course the CD it’s self, which come in a black paper slip sleeve.
So lets move onto the three tracks with-in, and first up we have “Kwlwsta”. This comes in at just over the ten minute & twenty seconds mark, and it opens with what sounds like a rickety old organ playing out a simple set of two or three notes in a slow & often sustained manner, and underneath this is a selection of shuffling ‘n’ scuttling textures. By just before the two minute mark the sound picture has subtle built up with a mixture of: distant & persistent bone or metal like scraping, buried & wavering chants, subdued trails of field recording or sound matter, and the odd shimmering slice of cymbal simmer & buried ritual horn drone 'n' bay. All told it’s a great start to the release, and works well as a gateway into Halo Manash time-less sound- it also sonically maps out the what to expect on the other two tracks, i.e. seemingly simplistic & moody sound worlds that expand with more detail & dread each time you play them.
Track number two is entitled “Varjoista”, and this comes in just under the ten minute mark. This track opens with a sustained & slightly buzzing single note organ drone, which is underfed by weird crackling & descending field recordings- these could either be of fire crackle, or the looped crunch of underground cavern rock fall. By around the minute & a half point we get added to the sonic picture slow slashing or sweeping water sounds, & hints of twanging stringed instruments. Pretty soon these are added to by slow tribal drum hover, and the twitter of birds. By the third minute the organ has speed up pace a little, as it feeds out a line of two ominous yet moody sounding notes- the organ once again sounds very aged & earthy…maybe it’s pipe organ or something similar. As the track carries on more subtle sonic traces are added in building & building the strange atmosphere- we have more field recordings of slithering type sounds, thin layers of organ or synth drone, etc- which all heightening & intensifying the vibe of the track.
Lastly we have the track “Tulelle”, this comes in at just shy of the nineteen minute, and for me it’s the highlight of the whole release. The track opens with the persistent crackle & billow of a fire. As the track moves into it’s first minute Halo Manash add in this far away rushing sound which is seemingly slowly twisting & advancing towards you, along with pin pricks of bird chipping. By the two minute mark great hovering, simmering & brooding organ element has appeared, and to me this has quite a brooding & pure black coil like feel to it. As the track moves on you seem to drift deeper & deeper into the truly dark & entrancing mix of repetitive organ drone, and very subtle manipulated field recording elements. The field recordings take in: the eerier sound of cavern like water tickle ‘n’ flow, muffled night time animal calls, and a few rather unsettling sounds that are difficult to define. With this track you do truly feel like your taken on a strange journey into some other nocturnal dimension- you start off by a ritual set fire, then you are led deeper & deeper into a oddly angled & unsettling subterranean net work of caves. This track reallly is totally spellbinding & entrancing, and often I find myself putting it on repeat & just drifting a way for an hour or so.
I think it’s fair to say that “Wesieni Wainajat” stands as some of the best work that Halo Manash, or the rest of the Aural Hypnox have ever produced thus. As I found myself been sucked in & darkly entranced even on it’s very first play through, and each new replay seems to have deepened the releases arcane & mysterious charm. If you have any taste for dark ‘n’ droney matter with a ritual focus, this simply is a must have item, and it's also one of the late highlights of 2013.