Adel Souto’s 156 project is a great study in ritual and location. Remember Lustmord’s seminal Paradise Disowned album from the mid-1980s? Recorded in church crypts, caves, and an abattoir, the album was gritty, morbid, and absolutely crystalline in its sense of place.
Taking a Look at a Moment Lost takes a similar starting point, but is unashamedly urban. Perhaps that’s a misleading word, as this is anything but suburban, but its sound sources and field recordings are clearly sourced from city environments. Yet, this is no upbeat percussion troupe busking in a train station; rather, Taking a Look at a Moment Lost’s tracks sound like arcane, solitary rituals that are performed surreptitiously in the middle of the night in subterranean locations. Which, in all likelihood, is exactly what they are.
Unsurprisingly, metal percussion and crude rhythms dominate the album, with the odd bell sparsely placed here and there along with what sounds like a string instrument of some description. There are minimal effects added – some light delay and distortion on occasion – and you’d like to think the cavernous reverb is a natural result of the environments in which the tracks were recorded. The tape hiss and night-time ambient noise add to the overall atmosphere, and may well have been amplified to heighten the effect. The dominant vibe is deep and murky, and decidedly more deathly than similar percussionists like Z’ev.
Taking a Look at a Moment Lost, in the end, is an excellent example of pure ritual music, unshackled from genre expectations, and firmly grounded in the time and place of its performer. The tape’s visual presentation from Chondritic Sound is brilliantly tactile, and perfectly suited to the music: thick brown paper insert with dull red ink, and a brittle, spray-painted cassette. Apparently Adel Souto’s next release dives headlong into the death only hinted at in this release, and has been recorded solely using human bones and instruments derived from them. In these hands, the results will be well worth checking out.
01) Fading Images
02) And the Crowd Calls for his Head
03) Expand and Contract
04) Leaving without Dinner
05) Blasting Away
07) The Midnight Hour (May Day)
08) About to Kowtow
09) The Midnight Hour (All Souls Day)