Ulaan Khol I

Increasingly, our guitar heroes seem to be genetically recombining to meld the traditions of folk mystics (Fahey, Basho) and electric pyrotechnicians (Hendrix) into one frame. Steven R. Smith developed mutations of both strains over ten years spent in both Mirza and Thuja, but it was perhaps his more recent Hala Strana project that led to this recording. Billed by Soft Abuse as the first instalment in their "Ceremony” series, Smith adapts his interest in Eastern European musical structures to an overdriven and fractured electric recording of striated guitar layers with occasional minimal percussion. The result does conjure mist-shrouded metaphysical graffiti in search of some lost truth. The nine untitled tracks are curiously compact given their outward reach but cumulatively they read like prophecies interpreted from several interlinking points of view. They are also like powerful little engines that rage against an encroaching darkness that is dissolving the clean lines of defence. (Soft Abuse)