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Circulation of Light, "Acheiropoeita"

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cover imageA combination of esoteric neofolk and electronic experimentation, Circulation of Light (Nathaniel Ritter of Kinit Her and Burial Hex, among others) sits nicely between those two genres.  While I tend to find artists who overly favor one end of those two poles monotonous over time, Acheiropoeita does not have that problem in the slightest.

Brave Mysteries

One asset of this album is the careful use of vocals, which can make or break this kind of work.  Admittedly, neofolk that sticks to an overly skeletal arrangement focusing solely on vocals and acoustic instrumentation tends to wear on me over time.  While Ritter's vocals can at times drift into the overly dramatic ("A Perfect Heart Is Like A Mirror" and "Patience I" are the clearest examples) it never goes too far, and instead is always grounded by the oblique atmospheres and textures.

Songs like the slow, string and piano-led  "The Death Desire" pairs more traditional vocals with a guttural chanted layer, resulting in a bleak, somewhat menacing medieval sound throughout its duration, although augmented with an electronic sheen.  "Manifold Grace" is of similar ilk, though here focusing on xylophone-like chimes and dissonant throbs from far away.

On "Stone's Sail" and "Patience II", the focus is on less organic instrumentation, with the former conjuring dark, moody imagery and the latter having an elegant, almost regal quality to it. Closing "Dimmet" is perhaps the most out there, with disembodied tones and supernatural spaciousness enveloping a bassy electronic drone, closing the album on a somber note.

Dramatic and grandiose would be appropriate adjectives to describe Acheiropoeita, but in a definite positive sense.  The music is imbued with a sense of pomp that adds to its impact rather than detracts, giving a powerful feeling on each of the tracks.  The sweeping strings and electronics, with Ritter's distinctive voice, give a mystical, timeless quality to a style that too often seeks to stay rooted in the past.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 22:06  


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