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Halo Manash : r.A.S.H.n.k.a-RA

This is probably the most creepy thing I've ever bought. Or perhaps the most intriguing? I bought what I thought was only an LP just to find that there were a DVD video inside as well - and, while the LP definitely contains the disturbing music that the projects of Anti Ittna Haapapuro has always had, the movie adds a whole new dimension to it.

Normally I would have stated that this music would have been scarier on it's own since it would have left the images free for listeners imagination to interpret. But, while the video allows you to see what is going it still requires a lot from the listener if he/she is to make sense of it. The performance is just too far beyond comprehension to be mindlessly absorbed, one needs to add one's own interpretation of what is happening for there to be any form of coherence. It all starts and ends in the woods, where the two participants do shamanic ceremonies while in an almost trancelike state. They surround themselves with animal bones, homemade flutes and instruments that make the most unsane sounds, and worship altars in the middle of nowhere. You never get a single explanation for any of their actions. And yet, this mesmerizing music - the chimes, the horns! - they pull on you, wanting to tell you secrets that emanate from this madness... The whole rite of passage, lasts 32 minutes and 30 seconds. And that's enough. More than enough. Half an hour of that is enough to exhaust me completely.

I would not recommend this movie to epileptics since it keeps on flashing. The effect, I believe, is supposed to make it all the more otherworldly. Have no doubt about their success there. You might as well have been in Kadath! It's not a major budget production - the whole budget only had to cover two cloaks, a few homemade instruments, and a camera - but I'd still claim that the quality of it is very good.

Amongst the extras you'll find an alternate version of the 'In 4 Elements' video. Here you'll get only stills from the movie, which might be the thing if you prefer to focus on the audio instead of the visuals. One may also find the 'In PolarDuel' track in its entirety among the extras, although this seems slightly silly since this version is no different from the LP version. Perhaps it was put there for the listeners who don't own a turntable?

Finally, and most interestingly, there is the short text that tries to explain this whole double disk release. Here the two disks are referred to as opposing twins of "creations/destructions". The four piece cycle that is 'In 4 Elements' was the bright twin, while the dark one is 'In PolarDuel'. While 'In 4 Elements' is the "sounds of spilling seed [...] reflects this rite of passage, showing r.A.S.H.n.k.a-RA taking form in the primal landscape and in the elements themselves", they call 'In PolarDuel' "a tearing down, a dive into the deep [... T]he sounds shedding skin". However, this cannot be seen as more descriptive than mere scratchings on the suface. Halo Manash has kept much of their mysteries to themselves.

To describe the sound in itself; on both disks, there's an ambiance unusual to Halo Manash. It's often intense, but it's not as rich or chaotic as it was on 'Par-Antra I: Vir' or on 'SYoMA'. Furthermore, I find 'r.A.S.H.n.k.a-RA' to be more haunting than the projects earlier works. One might even call the dark twin (the LP) a bit depressive. Yet the repetitive patterns of chimes, horns, percussion, tribal drums and rattles creates a perfect meditative album if you've got a strong enough mind, as is how it always have been with Halo Manash. Allowing this journey to pass through you might be more than your soul can take.

I'm sure that there are many who will not appreciate this film or the music. Both of them are about the mood, the search, and that which lies beyond the eyes. If you're not interested in either, this isn't for you. However, if you're into dark ambient, the occult, or mysticism then you might want to have a look at this. Just be aware, you might find your mind obsessing with this "cycle" and the questions it poses.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
Disk 1 (DVD):
Multimedia track:
   In 4 Elements [video]
   About Halo Manash r.A.S.H.n.k.a-RA DVD [text]
   Gallery Halo Manash r.A.S.H.n.k.a-RA -In 4 Elements- [pictures]
   Bonus Track Halo Manash r.A.S.H.n.k.a-RA -in PolarDual- 30:50 mn [music]

Disk 2 (LP):
1. In PolarDual (part 1)
2. In PolarDual (part 2)

Duration : Approx. 62 minutes (not including the DVD version of 'In PolarDual': 31 mins.).

Visit the Halo Manash bandpage.

Reviewed on 02-08-2010 by Arnstein Petersen
Vanha - Black Lion
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