by David J Opdyke, AmbiEntrance
Three musical forces come together from different parts of the world... this is a brilliant collaboration between American synthmaster Steve Roach, Spanish guitarist Suzo Saiz and Mexican ethno-percussionist Jorge Reyes. The resulting atmospheres are thick with the dust of the ages and the sonic powers that dwell within.
This global gathering reflects the concept that though we may be from different deserts, we are in fact mutual tribes. The opening drumbeats of "Different Deserts" immediately announce that the listener has entered a more primitive zone. Lush textures ebb and flow underneath the wall of beats, which slow to a more sedate pace and then again. This long-running track (12:20) effectively sets the stage for the tribal/ethnic sounds to come in the ensuing 64 minutes.
"Snake Song" stands out as the only track to prominently feature wordlessly chanting voices. The shamanistic calls are underpinned by the persistent drumming and, eventually, a deep oscillation of modern electronics. Long wails from various wind instruments further adorn the airspace. "Night Devotion" softly swirls into a peaceful state of being. The guitar work, though light, is more overt here, strings ringing over the subtly shifting backdrop. Mostly percussionless, a slow claypot rhythm is added later in the track's course.
Similarly serene, "Saguaro" opens to wavering tonal mists and various bird-like cries, chitters and chirps. Could be the soundtrack to an awakening desert dawn, the air still cool and smooth. With a growl, "Mutual Tribes" rises like a fiery sun, pounding down with hot beats and rays of sound. The piece is dense and billowing, like the haze of heat emanating from the baked earth.
The hazy "Suspended Memories, Forgotten Gods" is lighter, yet still murky and dreamlike. This "title track" is a soft, beatless drift of synth and muted guitar swirls, while scritchy little background rustlings add an edginess to the proceedings. At 3:48, ritual noise clocks in as the shortest piece. Slow, deliberately pounding drumbeats are overlain by strange flute-like warblings and keyboard washes.
"Distant Look" lives up to its title as processed guitar chords are stretched across a vast sky like a rainbow. Slight percussion and echoing synthesizer breeze down a long vally. This track carries the listener through different atmospheres on its journey... from airy space to denser, flute-flavored swells to a sudden shimmering dissipation. The rhythmic clattering of ceramic or shell precedes "Shaman's Dream", which evolves into a soft swell of sound. Rippling tones and primitive percussive devices decorate, until all merges into a final dark welling moan of some not-guite-forgotten god.
I love this stuff. If you want to pin some more adjectives on Forgotten Gods, try "immersive", "tribal", " atmospheric", "ancient yet modern"... and don't forget "excellent", "highly recommended" and "rated Two Thumbs Up by the AmbiEntrance".