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Darsombra - Transmission [Self Released - 2019]

Baltimore-based, psychedelic/experimental duo Darsombra return with their fifth LP, the self-released Transmission. Built around an experience for the senses, Darsombra's live show has become somewhat legendary, so capturing this in an album is a challenge. Cleverly, the album was released a little more than a week into their extensive tour across the US and Canada, so fans are able to experience Transmission in all its glory. Composed of one album length track, Darsombra's latest is a slowly moving, psychedelic treat for the senses.

Drifting like smoke from an ashtray on a hazy, desert morning, Transmission makes its way upward at its own pace like the skyward carbon driven by the embers of a cigarette. Built around plenty of instrumentation, but never using it like a sledgehammer, Darsombra is able to clearly and cleanly deliver their spacious, atmospheric message. Delay and reverb help Darsombra spread its wings like the moth of its logo, with slower, deliberate picking in the back to keep the album from soaring too far from its intended path. While their are looped, somewhat chanted vocals, the guitar acts as the storyteller here, using multiple tones as different voices for the narration. Like an epic, rollicking yarn, Transmission takes its time to set the scene, introduce its characters, let the story arc and develop, before coming to its climax. Much like ancient tradition, there are recurring themes that loop and resurface to tie together with earlier pieces of the work, while guitar exposition continues to drive Transmission forward. Built as one, album-spanning track, the lack of song transitions keeps the listener involved and allows Darsombra's arrow to continue unerring to its target. Psychedelic and meditative to its core, Transmission is supplemented with hints of other genres to add flavor and color to its kaleidoscope, and it uses all its tools wisely. Full, complete, and satisfied, the listener will walk away from Transmission with an open outlook and new perspective on the days ahead.

Loading their fifth full length with a dreamlike, open tale to tell, Darsombra's Transmission is a contemplative, psychedelic story that is engaging in soft moments of reflection as it is when the day is in full swing. Composed over five years, Transmission's attention to detail is very apparent and well received. With an extensive tour ahead, Darsombra will be able to perfect their live performance of Transmission and really give audiences the full experience.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Paul Casey
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