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Isengrind, Twinsistermoon, Natural Snow Buildings – The Snowbringer Cult

Isengrind/Twinsistermoon/Natural Snow Buildings – “The Snowbringer Cult”
2CD (ltd.1000)

Enter the Snowbringer Cult. Lo, behold the great arrival. Over the course of several private press releases, all of which will see much needed CD reissues later this year, and the gone-in-the-blink-of-an-eye “Laurie Bird” CDR that we released in early February ’08, the music and artwork of Mehdi Ameziane and Solange Gularte has become the stuff of legend.

Such is the case despite the fact that the amount of people who have actually been fortunate enough to acquire physical copies of these wondrous releases numbers in the mere low hundreds. “The Snowbringer Cult” then, in all of its epic glory, is what you might call an entirely necessary and long overdue coming out release by France’s mighty Natural Snow Buildings.

The album is composed of two jam-packed discs of brand new material recorded in the final months of 2007, the first being a split between the duo’s solo projects: Isengrind (Gularte) and Twinsistermoon (Ameziane). Here, the pair’s tendency to occupy the full 80 minute capacity of the CD medium proves ideal, as both solo projects effectively have a full 40 minutes in which to sketch their respective sonic visions.

Disc one begins with the exotic ethnodrones of Isengrind, with Gularte transporting us to some blasted bazaar where Eastern strings, haunted vocals and a marvelous universe of shaken and beaten percussion emanates from every dark corner of the windswept streets. “To Ride With Holle” could be a merging of the resonant clatter of “Empty Bell”-era Pelt with the enchanted peaks of the Taj Mahal Travellers’ bleary eyed beachside reveries.

Elsewhere, Gularte presents us with tribal landscapes that wouldn’t be out of place on the most captivating of Sublime Frequencies releases, as is the case on “Wooden False Face.” Ever the chameleon, throughout her half of the split Gularte takes us to deep, dark places, such as the barren netherworld of “Sun Dusk Wand,” as well as the bright, blue summits found in her magnificent closing piece “Anima Sola.”

Emerging from Isengrind’s lush soundworlds are Mehdi Ameziane’s own solo flights as Twinsistermoon, which begin with the keening, sprawling “Amantsokan,” a truly mesmerizing dirge. It is with “The Spears of the Wolf” however, that the course of this split album is wonderfully altered. Here, Ameziane channels the most affecting qualities of 70’s British folk music with wondrous, transportive results.

Ameziane’s take on the folk song is reminiscent of the pastoral diddies of Vashti Bunyan or perhaps some long lost Linda Perhacs or Anne Briggs recording, all plaintive nylon strings and warm, whispered voices. It is thus that the Twinsistermoon half of the split oscillates effortlessly between two seemingly disparate styles: that of the nostalgic, crestfallen folk song (“Spells,” “Water Barrier,” “Kingdom of the Sea”) and that of the slow burning drone epic (“Order of the Dreamt,” “Bones Memories,” “Understars”), no small feat indeed.

For the album’s colossal third installment, Ameziane and Gularte join forces under the Natural Snow Buildings moniker for the entirety of disc two. It is here that all of the diversity and compositional prowess evidenced by the pair’s solo recordings coheres into the remarkably refined and singular NSB sound.

“Resurrect Dead on Planet Six” kicks things off, a horde of screaming, lost specters howling across one thousand endless starry nights. On “Ongon’s Rattle,” a doomed mass gathers for a ritual processional, with Ameziane and Gularte’s moss-laden forest chants floating atop a wistful, rhythmic undertow that is evocative of the best qualities of early Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the rest of the Constellation Records roster.

After the sunlit drift of “Inuk’s Song,” Ameziane and Gularte unleash in the title track what is undoubtedly one of their most compelling compositions to date. A deluge of frenzied woodwind tones gives rise to a blasted sea shanty lament driven forward by collapsing synth lines, booming percussion and increasingly urgent, searing blasts of pure bliss drone guitar.

The enigmatic forest dwellers raise their voices again on the shambling, reverent “Gone,” and, later, “Salt Signs” continues the beautiful trajectory established by the title track with its impossibly towering summits of synth and string drones that are gradually tempered by kraut-inflected percussion and drifting, rhythmic guitar work.

Later, “The Desert Has Eyes” finds a tribal raga positively eviscerated by blistering sheets of pure whiteout feedback and cascading sine waves. The album ostensibly closes with an ocean of elegiac organ tones woven into a tight coda.

However, an emphatic exclamation point to the monster that is “The Snowbringer Cult” occurs with the album’s hidden track, wherein an utterly levitating torrent of pounding percussion, hummed vocals and post-Flying Saucer Attack fuzzbox guitar attack scream out into the void.

If this seems like a lot to take in – it surely is, but such is the nature of the Natural Snow Buildings cosmos. Enter the Snowbringer Cult. Lo, behold the great arrival.

– by Alex Cobb

Sorry. I had to remove the lnks on foot of mail below from the recpord company.

Please take this down.
The album is newly released and available here: or from the band.
Thanks for your consideration,
Students of Decay Records

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May 21, 2008 Posted by | Isengrind, Music_Alternative, Music_Experimental, Natural Snow Buildings, Twinsistermoon, _MUSIC | 2 Comments