01. Nerve Process
02. The Bells
04. Rise Up
05. Richard Pearson
Kama Rupa is a ritual electronics project, not completely unlike stuff like Ain Soph or Lashtal in concept. What this means is that the music is based around particular ritualized actions that are intended to interact with both this world and other dimensions. Because of the personal and occult nature of these aims, the process cannot be fully understood by the audience except as an experience because of its individualized nature. The first material that I had heard from this project was on the Hospital Productions compilation “Around The Dragon’s Broken Neck…” which was themed around some sort of modern resurgence of ancient European ideals (along with being a sort of tribute the Italy’s Slaughter Productions). That track was an atmospheric electronic number with a strong dance flavor, a bit different from the smoky, musique concret alliance of creepy and pretty sounds with a decidedly dark atmosphere. Acoustic elements, human voice, and various levels of electronics are utilized to create a post-modern pastiche of styles. The variety of styles would certainly appeal to fans of material like the aforementioned Ain Soph, Der Blutharsch, or (perhaps most especially) Deutsch Nepal. Kama Rupa, who is from the United States, certainly rises to the level of those sort of artists with a powerful and developed sound.
The group seems to be kept in intentional obscurity, with the two acknowledged members being Anthony Mangicapra and Erik Proft, with others coming in and out of the group. The name Kama Rupa comes from a dictatorship ruled by a king (thought to be brought to power through divine right) in a large area near Tibet established sometime around 300 A.D. It continued to exist until the early 1100s, and the name survives today in a tiny district called Kamrup. Their insistence on a monarchy opposed the prevailing Muslim leadership promeninent in nearby regions, and they were often at odds with invading people who had names like Alauddin Hussein. The band Kama Rupa uses a lot of keyboards and electronics in their material, along with an interesting use of vocals throughout. The first track has a woman’s voice talking really weird and creepy, with some high pitched tones going in the background. Kind of reminds me of a Diamanda Galas kind of thing. Then things pick up a bit, with some really nice violent repetitive banging in a stark Industrial style, with really evil creeped-out black metal-like vocals that come in and add a lot of spice to things. I could have done without the initial “atmospheric” track, but more stuff like that next part with the repetitive monomaniacal banging and creepy vocals and I’m sold. Really nice.
Next we’ve got some mixed up Christmas carols floating around with some electronics, very atmospheric and creepy stuff. A spoken word + piano track about a Jack the Ripper type of fellow delivers some bitter irony, followed by another nice rhythmic Industrial track. The final track is a more dreamlike and wistful bit of music themed around an academic dealing with supernatural phenomena. I enjoyed some of the stuff on here, but there was perhaps a lot of variety and not much meat on the bones for such a short release. There is a lot of potential here, and this release was definitely made with a lot of care and talent involved. The rhythmic industrial tracks on this one are quite nice. Overall, this is a brief and obscure release from a group of very talented musicians, carrying on a certain connection with ancient ways into modern territory. Cover painting by one of the fellows from American neo-folk group Changes.