Updated: Apr 29
Music is of course one of my greatest passions as it speak to my soul and in an ever more concrete and digitalised world, it is harder to connect with that 'soul'. The Roots Of Saraswati album art's depiction of cyber connections flowing in to natural roots is a concept I think most of us can connect with. For those of us who find solace in the living history of Heilung and Wardruna, we also find just as much solace in the electronic rhythms of industrial music and the sense of tribal and clan like community we feel when listening to these juxtapositions of expressive sound in our alternative community.
So it was that iVardensphere brought tribal drumming to industrial; Now Scott Fox who is the central part of iVardensphere has added his talent to This Morn' Omina. The ritualistic and tribal story telling has added so many layers of depth and proceeded to further blur the lines between the electronic science fiction of music we find ourselves surrounded by and the music of nature and soul that our ancestors have played out for millennia. Just like those roots or branches of a tree, my tastes in music are just as varied and far reaching. With this album I can say for certain.. My soul is drinking deep from this entrancing journey.
With "The Roots of Saraswati", This Morn' Omina add a new, dark facet to their already impressive catalogue. The latest album by the Belgian tribal industrial pioneers can be seen both as a continuation of their previous work as well as a welcome expansion of their stylistic palette.
The broadening of their musical horizon is partly due to Karolus Leroq having been replaced by iVardensphere drummer and electro-musician Scott Fox. The Canadian from Edmonton arrived with new sound elements in his bag when he joined This Morn' Omina. This line-up change resulted in the current tracks offering an increased compositional depth and a darker atmosphere compared to the previous album "Kundalini Rising" (2017).
The organic structures of the current songs put more emphasis on the tribal heart of the Belgians, while their psychedelic trance influences shining through on their previous albums have been audibly trimmed back. The extremely well-honed production of "The Roots of Saraswati" seamlessly blends driving atmospheric electronics with organic percussion, which will also prick up listeners' ears.
Lyrically, This Morn' Omina remain true to their fascination for the spiritual traditions of the Indian subcontinent on "The Roots of Saraswati". In Hinduism, the name "Saraswati" ("The Flowing One") represents the goddess of wisdom, art, and learning, yet also denotes a mysterious river from which knowledge, inspiration and divine grace spring. In Hindu teachings, "Saraswati" is also used as a term for scholars and seekers of truth. All the aspects of this word contain an element of flowing and profound transcendence as a common theme, which also defines the content of the new album, musically, lyrically, and in the artwork as well.
"The Roots of Saraswati" irresistibly call to the dancefloor via hypnotic club hits such as 'The Mongoose King' and 'The Nothing Space'. Yet after several spins, the raw percussive power and cinematic scope of mid-tempo tracks like 'Vadavighni ("The All Consuming Fire")' and 'Nepenthe' starts to grow into focus. The coup de grace is delivered by the soothing chords of 'Song of Elo'im' that could have had a starring role on a John Carpenter soundtrack – seasoned with a tasty industrial dash.
The impressive evolution of This Morn' Omina finds a perfect outlet with the hypnotic and varied tribal industrial masterpiece "The Roots of Saraswati".
We start with a calm and collected opening with the first track 'Nadisti Sukta'. An introduction fit for a royal procession making it's way across a vibrant and packed out cityscape. There is meditative peace with the lighter hand drums, yet depth and thunderous magnitude with the larger percussion and horns proudly announcing This Morn' Omina's arrival.
'The Mongoose King' provides a spine chilling endorphin rush. As the music rises and falls, punctuated by industrial loops, soul touching bass, and well placed voice samples, you find yourself carried away on a vivid experience. At the 3.54 mark the electronic kick in and melodic vocals perfectly personify the album cover with the mixing of the natural and the cybernetic. There is a dark, malicious overtone to the whole track that intensifies towards its climax making for a truly magical track worthy of mystical sagas.
There is a lot of trance and mindful reflection to be had when listening to 'Naous'. It feels like an invitation to not only reflect on one's self but on mankind as a whole, as well as what defines good from evil. The electronic melody constantly complimented by the hand drums is a brilliant piece of art in itself.
'Vadavigni (The All Consuming Fire)' Sounds like the soundtrack to a tense horror game of slow build up and infinite creep factor around every corner or revelation. There are epic undertones of imaginative storytelling intermixed with interpretive scales, loops, and eastern tones that causes the mind to run wild with creation if you let it. I honestly wish I was intoxicated listening to this to get a deeper effect and understanding. The final act of this track is intense and powerful.
We are again treated with a dark and eerie opening to 'People of the Serpent' that then becomes a colossal stomp track. Like a God rising from the depth called upon by its people, the voices in the track call out to the Serpent as the horns herald its arrival. This is some Indiana Jones mixed with Blade Runner kind of surrealness.
'1000 Cuts (Lingh Chi)' brings a much more electronic beat and tribal dance feel to up the tempo and BPM. It's a track to lose yourself to on a dance floor. The kind of track that would play out in a John Wick fight scene. This is true human passion and energy; It is vibrant and it is beautiful. 'The Nothing Space' follows this similar path of vibrant dance and tribal expression laced with electronic body motion.
I never though I would be wanting to rave to a Digeridoo (I hope that's the correct instrument used) anywhere near as hard as I do when I listen to 'Blood Oath'. I've never heard this instrument sounding so incredible and in sync with 'Industrial'.
Everything about this track is fire and bliss. It has industrial electronics, pounding bass, an impressive drum line, unexpected samples to mix it up, and drops to die for. This almost sounds like an 'Infected Mushroom' tracks with its psytrance-esque constructs.
SERIOUSLY, go check out the mixed up digeridoo at 5.02! Just.. WOW. I need a rave. NOW!!
'Nepenthe' once again forces us to look inside of ourselves and those around us with its emotion provoking voice sample and haunting introduction. However with the electronics build up around 3.40 the track takes on a whole other form entirely. This feels like the music that a Pantheon of Gods would dance to, especially if they are inclined towards some ultraviolence or debauchery which pulls away slightly from the more 'Enlightening' aspects of the album. There is power in abundance within the music, like a dangerous spell being weaved with utmost conviction and passion.
'Song of Eloi’im' is a long outro to the album, cleansing the mind ready to listen all over again or go about your day feeling empowered. I would suggest jumping straight in to their previous album though to keep the serotonin flowing.
The Mongoose King
Vadavigni (The All Consuming Fire)
People of the Serpent
1000 Cuts (Lingh Chi)
The Nothing Space
Song of Eloi’im
Cinematic in scope, colossal in scale, monumental in impact. This Morn' Omina have touched something beyond human comprehension with this album. A blending of electronic and the natural soul of all man's history finely interweaved. Not since Heilung have I felt a spiritual connection to music this strongly and in so doing it pulls my soul in yet another musically yearnful direction for more! I am beyond impressed and lost for words at the magnitude of what I have just witnessed and the mental journey I have experienced.
Dance factor: 9/10
Vocals / Samples: 8/10
Re-play value: 10/10
Overall score: 9.3 / 10
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