Ithi is a Brooklyn based duo, that had been so far exploring the experimental drone domain. Their 2011 release, The Persistence of Meaning, was based around the big drones, immense feedback and noise elements that they were able to conjure. A slight shift came with their next album, Within, seeing Ithi going into a more abstract, experimental rock tone. Their previous vibe was still present, with the imposing, big sounds and the power electronics mentality, but the change was deeply felt.
Today, four years since Within came out, they unleash their latest record, Chapel Perilous. And guess what! They switched their tone once more. The krautrock approach has been apparent in the duo's previous works, but in this instance it acts as the main force feeding the record. This chameleonic approach does not find them completely rid of their previous skin, as Ithi navigate masterfully between the drone, new wave and noise elements that have been defining their sound so far.
The whole perspective of the band has moved from their abstract and formless notions of the first two albums (especially their debut,) and into a more solid domain. The tracks have more substance, there is more room for melodies and the progression is more focused, but the band still pays a great deal of attention to the textures of their sound and the construction of a rich background. There is a certain mastery in the way Ithi create the scenery, using various effect to populate the soundscapes and turn them into an ever-changing force behind the main structures. This leads into a trippy result, perfect for the space exploration that the duo is undergoing, and making a turn for the more abstract and acidic when the pace is brought down. If compared to the previous records, it feels like The Persistence of Meaning and Within were conjuring nightmare-like scenarios with their chaotic and hellish approach, while Chapel Perilous moves more into the ethereal dreamscape domain.
That merge of psychedelia and new wave aesthetic are enhanced by the krautrock overload of the record. Considering the different elements of Ithi's sound, krautrock is the perfect pillar around which everything else can unfold. The bleak industrial ambiance, the mechanized beats, the big drones, the electronic fury are all placed tastefully to compliment the psychedelic quality that oozes from the record. With Chapel Perilous, Ithi are emerging with a renewed sense for their music, a further change for the sound, and judging from their past, a stepping stone to the next, unavoidable change.
8.0 / 10
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