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Shroud Of Vapour - Suicide Forest Sessions [4iB Records - 2015]

Shroud Of Vapour is a five piece collaborative project that brings together itís members from the Japanese noise scene, for a moody, mostly subdued, and often chilling two track release on respected, up- &-coming Singapore based noise/ experimental label 4iB Records. This is the projects first release.

The release comes in the form of a CD release, which features two  tracks, each of these run between fifty & nineteen minutes a piece. And I guess itís best to describe what we have here as a fairly lose & often woozy mix of unsettling & stripped electro ambience, subdued noisy improv/ noise making, eerier vocalising, and the odd venture into more structured/ noisy fair.

The release takes itís name from Aokigahara, The Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees- a 35-square-kilometre forest situated on northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The forest is associated with demons in Japanese myth, and has been the site of many suicides (give or take around a 100 most years since the late 1980ís). Both tracks here were recorded live in the forest, using just battery powered & non electric elements.

The project brings together the following: Hiroshi Hasegawa( of C.C.C.C., Astro, and  many other projects),  ROHCO( also of C.C.C.C. &Astro), L'Eclipse Nue & Yoshiko Honda.


Track one is entitled "In Memory Of" & comes in at just shy of the forty nine minute mark. It languidly morphs & melts from wavering/ haunting at times almost operatic sign-song female wordless vocalising, through to stretched out & thinned noise tonal drift, onto sudden more noisy rises amassed textures, through to hazed & shapeless mixes of textural detail, onto reduced down slightly spacey synth drift, & haunting feedback ebb Ďní shift.  All in all the tracks quite effective in itís drifting, drowsy & slightly unsettling vibe, and one can almost imagine lost spirits floating & slowly shifting through the suicide forests landscape.

Track two comes in the form of  "If It Pleases The Deceased", and this just over nineteen minute track see the five piece move towards slightly more noise bound feel - though it still has a haunted/ lose vibe about  it. The track opens with a mixture of walking or heart-beat pulse textured detail, & this is battered by on/ off slams of what sounds like an organ fed through a distortion pedal- around this we get layers of ghostly moans & subdued female vocalising. As the track progresses a more wavering & sad harmonic keyboard hits can be made out, but around this you keep getting hits of textured & eerier noise matter, and retro synth  flotsam & jetsam- after a time the harmonic element departs.  I guess youíd say the  tracks  falls somewhere between noised up- ambience, weird sťance like vocalising, and possible a 60ís psychedelic freak out at itís most loose/ reduced down.  The tracks ok I guess, but I did find my attention starting to wonder in places, so it certainty wasnít as effective as the first track

So in summing the idea of  recording in the suicide forest is certainly an intriguing one, and  the first track  mangers to capture the vibe of such a place nicely- I just felt there was a little less thought & atmosphere in the second track. So if you enjoy  lose  often chilling sonics which hover somewhere between ( mostly subdued) noise-making, improv, and noisy ambience you may well get something from this.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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