Or:- “Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?”
The future is here. Salute the new world order. Heavy music is so far beyond Sabbath that their ages-old paradigm for religious rock and roll ceases to have any relevance in a world spiralling out of control. Their wide-ranging bomber-command music has been condensed into a microchip and burned with as much data as possible. The humungous crumbling statues of Buddha and Christ have no meaning and our own gods, built from wires and machinery by other machines increasingly resemble the Monolith. The stars are lining up. Technology is your god. The soundtrack is by Bong.
Bong’s ritualistic thuggery has been on my radar ever since Beyond Ancient Space waaaaaay back in 2011, their fuzzy production and post-doomy industrial clattering kept the doors of perception locked on that bombing run, but Mana-Yood-Sushai would solve both of those problems. Like Sleep’s Holy Mountain or OM’s special God is Good, Mana-Yood-Sushai would turn out to be the raw flawed blueprints for a future release to define the band. Though it ain’t over yet, and this year has been such a stinker I almost consider this an insult, but I’m prepared to declare Bong’s latest ohmworthy trudgefest, Idle Days on the Yann “thee best album of 2013”.
|Bong in concert a long time ago.|
It’s clear my OM love has been misplaced. Love as I do their Advaitic Songs LP from last year, and their meditatively peaceful spleen-vibrating live shows replete with spectacular vocals and ethereal drumming; it’s clear listening to Idle Days on the Yann that OM have been onto a bad trip this whole time. OM’s vision is grounded in silver Arabian sands glimpsed necessarily through the windows of an American Humvee; whereas Bong is much more grounded. The single droning chords are constantly collapsing in on themselves, and the mantric chants from Holly Forster are eclipsing the clouds ghostlike in their moon shine form. It’s a stunningly evocative work, almost totally devoid of the beats that their spiritual teacher, Sleep’s Dopesmoker used to drive the entire caravan forward. Dopesmoker, and the continuations through Cisneros’ OM are all percussion driven, built around the mechanical or at least trudgelike funereal march. Bong are driven much more by the fluidic motion of incense smoke through air, mainly hung off Ben Freeth's shahi baaja. Their sounds are winding and temporary and translucent. Like the anthropomorphised river of Lord Dunsany’s fiction, the record will bear you forward, like a terrible tempest river sucking water back into the mysterious alien jungle.
Written under duress by Steven.