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Halo Manash – Am Kha Astrie CD

20 October 2010 xdementia No Comment

Halo Manash – Am Kha Astrie CD

Aural Hypnox

As much times as I’ve reviewed Halo Manash they still manage to just stay one step ahead of me. This time however, I believe this is actually their latest release available and I’m happy to report Am Kha Astrie delivers and veers Halo Manash back into the right direction. The release follows the more recent packaging designs that Aural Hypnox have been employing with heavy cardboard stock and silk screened/stamped ink adorning the surface. Simple yet effective, and it all has a very earthy feel that reflects the ritualistic sounds succinctly.

If you’re not familiar with Halo Manash they are the premiere purveyors of Finnish ritualistic ambient. It may sound like a catch phrase but I challenge you to come up with a better description. With their previous release Taiwaskivi, I was just slightly expecting more from their ultra minimalist direction but luckily Am Kha Astrie doesn’t continue in that vein. Here we have a mix of their minimalist aesthetic, but with more composition and layering, not quite reaching the point of the lush and overactive sounds of Zo├Ąt-Aon but definitely calling to mind the layered tracks of their r.A.S.H.n.k.a-RA LP.

From the start Am Kha Astrie takes the listener to a different place, and not just a place somewhere on this small earth, but a place that is lost in time. The sound quality is as such as to remind one of an old film or an early recording from a time when there were still places in this world that were yet undiscovered, or corrupted by modern civilization. The variety and evolution of the tracks are especially subtle and enveloping this time around with the solo calling of a lone horn in the opening minutes finally being joined by drums, cymbals, and drones by the time the third track The Treefaced Trunk Arises – A Pillar Through All Worlds kicks in.

Am Kha Astrie has been the medicine for my week-long fever binge and has called me back to from my fevered dreams several times over the last few days. It picks up where Halo Manash left off with r.A.S.H.n.k.a-RA and offers a new take on the sound that Halo Manash has been trying to refine over their last few releases. With Am Kha Astrie Halo Manash has created their own world of lost rituals and begotten civilizations and they offer us a door into this mysterious inner soundscape.

Composition: ★★★★½
Sounds: ★★★★½
Production Quality: ★★★★½
Concept: ★★★★½
Packaging: ★★★★☆
Overall Rating: ★★★★½

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