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The Kali Ensemble – The Kali Ensemble

The Kali Ensemble – The Kali Ensemble

Written by:  Sage
Artist:  The Kali Ensemble
Title:  Self-titled
Label:  Phage Tapes / Turgid Animal
Cat. #:  PT:113 / TA578
Format:  CD

Genre:  Industrial / Drone Ambient

01) The Seven Tongues MK. I (Page Vs. Dassum)
02) The Seven Tongues MK. II (Dassum Vs. Page)

The Kali Ensemble is a new project from the ever-increasingly more outwardly spiritually-minded Mike Page (Sky Burial, Fire in the Head) and the guerrilla-style sound manipulator Pentti Dassum (Umpio, Cosmo Jones Beat Machine [recording, mixing, guitar], Zerga label owner).  If the theme behind this album isn’t immediately apparent from the very moment you see the cover art to this album, then you’re not even trying to pay attention.  From the name of the project to the mock-Sanskrit font it’s written in and virtually every corner of the artwork, this project breathes Hinduism.  Namely, on the subject of Kali, whom is the goddess of time, change/death and shakti (the ancient cosmic energy that represents the forces of the universe).  She is a consort of the destroyer, Shiva, and is, in her own right, a deity of annihilation.  Violent.  Devastating.  “The black one.”  There are some very different views of Kali, especially in the Western world where feminists have been known to adopt her as a symbol of repressed sexuality and other related traits (which in itself poses many problems spawned by the lack of an educated interpretation), but it would seem that The Kali Ensemble is more interested in the traditional view of the deity.

The sound of The Kali Ensemble is raw and jagged much like Kali’s khanda.  It is void of emotion and brutally composed.  It is at times incredibly harsh in a surreal aspect, the metal noises dragging and clanking, constantly textured over by buzzing, quickly flickering electronics and layered underneath by uncomfortable ambient drones.  The tracks breathe as if alive at times, pulsing, writhing.  Around 12:30 into the first track is one of the more unique sections of the album, a section of percussive noises that come out sounding like dripping liquids with insect chirps abound.  This is backed by a modest ‘swoosh’ sound of heavy objects moving through the air freely.  You can paint your own image regarding those noises but it reminds of moving through the bowels of some great beast.  In the end, we are left drifting through a void with a primitive, metallic tribal rhythm leading us through into the second track that, while the first ended smoothly, begins abruptly with a strong industrial presence.  The production of this track sounds more raw, with the various changes in structure (i.e. from claustrophobic metallic industrial to mildly harsh static ambiance) seeming less put together and able to bring about imagery and more intent on overwhelming dark textures.

It is important here to mention that both tracks are exactly 33:33 in length, obviously projecting a number that occurs frequently in Hinduism and represents everything from The Trinity to Rtam (the orderly vibrations that penetrate all of creation).  The first manifestation of Rtam is creation, preservation, and destruction.  The third of which obviously ties in with the aforementioned Kali.  You could make the argument that while the music may at times seem chaotic in its structure, it was built in an orderly, inherently purposeful fashion, thus, again, representing the Rtam.  Shiva, the destroyer whom Kali is a consort of, is also the third of the Trinity.  He has three eyes, three braids of hair, and a three-pronged trident.  Reasons that the number three is important could likely go on infinitely if enough thought were put into it.  The point is, there are always underlying references with albums like this, references that are meant to make you seek them out and educate yourself on the subject at hand.  It seems that anything that Mike Page is involved with recently, he’s put a great deal of effort into in regards to multiple meanings, possible interpretation, and interesting subjects.  His breed of industrial music had an absurd amount of depth, something that is often sadly lacking in the modern view of dark electronics in general.

Rating:  4.5/5