Ulaan Khol III

With this, the third and final piece of a trilogy entitled Ceremony, Steven R. Smith has woven the threads of the Ulaan Khol mythos into a shimmering, maximalist tapestry. Taking cues from heavy psych and other not-so-Western song forms, Smith and his guitar roar, dance, meditate and laugh across these eight untitled, instrumental songs. This third act serves as a binding agent, summing up the ideas Smith has been exploring with this project since its inception a couple of years ago. Sure, the moments of blown-out guitar shredding are welcome, but Smith is kind enough to lay down a few contemplative drone pieces as well. These quieter passages, which linger in the air like wafting incense smoke, serve to heighten the anticipation for the next freak-out. III is a stunning collection of songs, a clever exercise of tension and release. (Soft Abuse)