Sky Burial – Kiehtan (Lens)

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Apart from an appended “reconstruction of the track Himmelblau-Starren by Dead Voices on Air Mark Spybey which likewise blends the organic and the industrial Michael Page’s sixth album as Sky Burial consists of just a 41-minute title track. It’s an ambitious piece, roping score-like mood swings and found-sound creepiness into a rich cosmos of ambience.

Page can seem to pursue tension and calm at once, and not unsuccessfully. But the darker elements tend to prevail, whether it’s machine-like incidental sounds or the kind of discordant textures that build steam only to slip back into the ether. Inspired by the waning daylight experienced in the forests of outer Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Kiehtan summons the alternately comforting and frightening vibe of being deep in nature as night encroaches. There’s both an intimidating vastness here as well as subtly pitched detail; the result can sound like gathering storms or tittering insects.

This piece feels both monolithic and alive, moving and evolving with absolute sureness. There’s a haunted quality that can border on paranoia, but that may just be Page’s specific vision of beauty: as likely to console you as to consume you.

Doug Wallen

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