More Music From A Prism
For most bands, albums are those things you produce when you have a new batch of songs, or when the record company demands it. Secret Chiefs 3, for those who are unacquainted, seem to approach albums more like a pre-twentieth century novelist. In this regard, it seems fitting that this new record—follow me on this— which is the first half of a planned second chapter in a trilogy of albums, along with its predecessor, Book of Horizons, bears the word “Book” in the title. The entire trilogy is known as Book of Truth. And seeing as this follow-up is over nine years in the making, it makes sense why these albums would take on the essence of dense and enigmatic tomes.
However, this is not an instance of Chinese Democracy-like debacle, as the brainchild behind Secret Chiefs 3, Trey Spruance, is quite a different animal than Axl Rose. In truth, the immersion factor doesn’t merely begin or end with the intriguing and wild palette of sounds that paint the album. As introduced on Book of Horizons, Spruance actually intends SC3 as seven different unique band entities, which all contribute to the album, and all of whom have or eventually will be touring and recording as their separate entities. In this sense, SC3 is like an perpetually unfolding blanket, and takes the word ambitious to quite another level.
Has this review started yet? Well actually, with a unique entity like SC3, the background information and accoutrements of the music seem to all be part and parcel. So when you have one band entity, UR, offering an electrifying run through of John Carpenter’s “Halloween” theme under the title “Personae: Halloween,” while also contributing a noir-detective style theme for “Drive,” it is important to acknowledge how these tracks balance against the bookending tracks by Ishraqiyun, which bear a more decidedly Eastern music influence. However, like any good album that offers a wide palette of sounds, each song isn’t just one sound. For instance, even though the latter two tracks bear Eastern influenced music and percussion, there is an ever present metallic intensity to them, especially on the pounding “Tistrya.”
In this way, Book of Souls: Folio A proves to be a logical progression from its predecessor, in so much as being able to incorporate and blend together disparate sounds. However, those nine years spent crafting the music here feel as though they were well spent; even though the smorgasboard of sound that was Book of Horizons is unbelievably impressive, here the different elements feel a little more comfortable sitting next to each other. There is notable fluidity between tracks, which makes it feel like the album is flying by, and this is especially true when inserting little miniature dream/nightmare vignettes like “Barzakh IK Markers (AIO Radio Narcissus)” and “Utopian Weekly Update (HVHI Public Access)” between some of the longer tracks.
So whether tinkling along with the at turns dreamy and delicate and others bizarre and jarring classical tinges of FORMS’ “Scorched Earth Saturnalia” the military march of Electromagnetic Azoth’s “Potestas Clavium” or even the comical Spanish-style narrative piece performed by Traditionalists entitled, “La Chanson de Jacky,” (which features guest vocals by Mike Patton), Folio A offers progression from its predecessor. Progression, but it also hints at how gaping the hole into Spruance’s psyche is—allowing for such diverse music to flow out— for Folio B, which is said to be due in early 2014, along with the final “Book” of the trilogy somewhere down the road.