Reviews Various Artists Amirtha Kidambi, Elder Ones – Holy Science

Various Artists

Amirtha Kidambi, Elder Ones – Holy Science

Amirtha Kidambi is an intriguing musician, an exploratory musics creator and a stellar singer. Having participated in a number of projects, including Mary Halvorson's Code Girl, Seven Teares and Tongues, with Elder Ones we see her for the first time acting as the band leader. Around her is an excellent cast, comprising of saxophonist Matt Nelson, bassist Brandon Lopez and drummer Max Jaffe, all of which are battle tested musicians of the DIY scene and improvisational world. In this context Kidambi is able to completely follow her avantgarde influences, including towering avant-garde figures as Luigi Nono and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and combining those with the meditative free jazz spirit of Alice and John Coltrane.

In its core, the process followed is drenched in free jazz, with Elder Ones going through different mutations in the case of Holy Science. It feels like there is not a moment of repetition within this work, every note makes an appearance for the first time and every drone has its own characteristic tone. The excellent vocal delivery of Kidambi similarly follows this patters, resulting in an improvisational delivery, where we even get to experience a double solo of sax and vocals in the case of “Tret-Yuga.” It is the levels of energy and the dynamics that make for such an interesting listen, through these four long tracks, where the jazz vibe is able to appear soothing and gentle, offering a background to a certain storyline, but then turning furious and uncompromising. Smooth progression on one hand, and harsh dissonance on the other, with moments where the sax results to Pharoah Sanders-like recitals of inharmonicity highlight this quality of Elder Ones.

However, the dominant aspect of this work does not simply rely on the power of improvisation, but rather on its meditative aspect. Holy Science is a transcendental record, from its individual elements to the full result. Kidambi's harmonium leads the way in bringing in the soothing melodies, resulting at moments when alongside the percussion, grants a prayer-like approach to the movements. The album itself is titled from a 19th century text by Swami Sri Yukteswar Giro, which scientifically explains the yugas (eons of cosmic time in Hindu mythology.) As a result the four movements of the record, explore themes of creation, destruction and rebirth. “Dvapara-Yuga” is even dedicated to the Eric Garner, providing a meditation of his death, becoming one of the most emotional parts of the record, especially in the opening a cappella part and minimal bass interval.

The fourth track, "Kali-Yuga" closes this time cycle with an apocalyptic reset. The ending that we get is exquisite, with Elder Ones hovering over their slow, improvisational settings, but even taking a plunge in more extreme territories with Kidambi exploring the boundaries of her voice, providing some insane throat singing in the process. It ties up Holy Science in the most suitable manner, and provides a reset not only for the yugas, but also for the record.

8.3 / 10Spyros Stasis
Advertisement
Tor Johnson Records
Leave a comment

8.3 / 10

8.3 / 10

Share this content
Advertisement
Radio K 2
More by Various Artists

Various Artists

Starkweather/Concealment - Split

8.7 / 10 Various Artists -  Starkweather/Concealment - Split album cover

After seven patient years Starkweather releases their third split Divided by Zero with Portugal’s Concealment. The two-song split cements itself with every listen as masterful. Like a vitamin, it’s not to be consumed on an ...

Various Artists

Say Sue Me / Otoboke Beaver Split 7”

8.5 / 10 Various Artists -  Say Sue Me / Otoboke Beaver Split 7” album cover
200 Words Or Less

Though the thought of pairing a shoegazey indie pop band with an anything-goes punk group on a split record may seem odd, in the case of this effort from South ...

Various Artists

ESC Life / Remedy - split EP

9.0 / 10 Various Artists - ESC Life / Remedy - split EP album cover

This is a sweet and short three track 7’’ released by two befriended bands. This EP had me interested when I saw ESC Life was on it. I was looking ...

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.