ALUK TODOLO
'Descension'
catalogue # REPOSELP015
format: Limited Edition Vinyl LP
(500 copies only)
barcode # N/A

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LIMITED EDITION 500 ONLY BLACK VINYL LP

LP Tracklisting
 
A1. Obedience
A2. Burial Ground

B1. Woodchurch

B2. Disease

Release Info:

The first full-length shows the band developing the esoteric theorems established on it's debut 7" and going far deeper in the methodical exploration of the occult powers of musical trance. With the goal to create a timeless, organic mixing of krautrock's strangeness and black metal's coldness, Aluk Todolo conjures rabid obsessive rhythms and abyssal disharmonic guitars, subliminal spiritualist vibrations and bizarre, magick summonings. By reducing psychedelic improvisation to a bare, telluric instrumentation, and basking in the archaic rawness of lo-fi production, the trio elaborates on an audio ritual meant to be monolithic and stabbing, hypnotic but unpredictable, minimalist yet teeming.

Artist Info:

With the goal to create a timeless, organic mix of krautrock’s strangeness and black metal’s coldness, combining Striborg with Faust, Burzum with This Heat, Svest with Paul Chain, or Ildjarn with Can, Aluk Todolo conjures rabid obsessive rhythms and abyssal disharmonic guitars, subliminal spiritualist vibrations and bizarre, magick summonings. By reducing psychedelic improvisation to a bare, telluric instrumentation, and basking in the archaic rawness of lo-fi production, the trio elaborates on an audio ritual meant to be monolithic and stabbing, hypnotic but unpredictable, minimalist yet teeming. Aluk Todolo features members from the legendary, underground black metal acts, Diamatregon (tUMULt) & Vediog Svaor (Paragon International)

 

REVIEWS

There’s been a fair amount of teeth gnashing and intermittent bots of throwing ourselves through the air against walls in our gaff since we finally get off our lazy hides and put this beauty on the turntable.

The gnashing of teeth due in the main to discovering the small though painfully consequential fact that this lot have somehow managed to sneak past a release in the shape of their self titled two track 7” for Public Guilt - the blighters. While our strange re-acquaintance with the walls in our place are borne of the fact that we are utterly smitten by this colossal unholy sounding four track hybrid opus of kraut, dark psych and blood chilled industrialism.

‘Descension’ is the debut Aluk Todolo full length release - limited to just 500 vinyl copies via the rather tasty Riot Season imprint who are it has to be said garnering something of a reputation for being latent spotters of taste makers (in our gaff anyway) having just blown us away with the latest double vinyl outing for the very excellent Shit ’n’ Shine (a review is imminent) as well as offering safe haven for the of those Jap psych overlords Acid Mothers Temple as well as in recent memory outings for the Skull Defekts and Black Boned Angel (which I have to hear and now come highly recommended).

The French trio who are made up of members of occultist / black metal ensembles previously unknown to us (now isn’t that familiar) Diamatregon and Vediog Svaor have in ’Descension’ delivered one of the early runners for psyche debut of the year. Loosening up on their black metal upbringing ’descension’ is grimly layered, the opening sequences of ’obedience’ envelope the listener in a sinew tightening tenseness routinely marked and scarred by the delicate drift of an apocalyptically monastic and bleak monochromatic backdrop before the frenzied scourge of hammer headed primordial kraut grooves are unleashed with blood letting intent. Unrelenting, inescapable and impeccably claustrophobic, this caustic armoury provides the setting for a serious power driven locked down head fuck of some measure beset with a raging frontal assault of howling feedback skree, acute no wave dialects and doom lashed foreboding and retribution.     

The ice dripped looping skin jangling paranoia of ‘burial ground’ drops the temperature to near chilling, ominous and skulking this heavily set bleak and blankly slice of fraught post punk taps disturbingly in to the monolithic atmospheres of Joy Division at their most overtly hollowed and here we are thinking ’dead souls’ and ’decades’ whilst intermittently being subjected to scorch marks resulting from hostile fuzz furies that neatly blends into…..

…’woodchurch’ which annoyingly our spell checker keeps trying to change to Woodchuck (whatever happened to them?) is as eerie as it gets is replete with life force evaporating drone montages that mooch restlessly like some kind of pulsating sonic black hole sucking dry any semblance of light - think LaBradford in a face off with Growing.

Its left to the parting ’disease’ to provide the set with its curtain closing centrepiece - deliciously set off and primed by some stunning dust ridden fuzzed up snaking blues accents as though a smoking Bill Horist had lifted some neat side winding riff tricks from Ry Cooder before being dragged backwards into darkening oppressive haze of stricken industrial treated drone dub collages whipped straight out of the arse pocket of an early career Roy Montgomery. Fierce some stuff. 

All at once brooding and brutal ‘descension’ is an uncompromising ceremony of caustic generic engineering and an absolute must have record collection addition.

LOSING TODAY

Coming from a black metal background Aluk Todolo reek and reel with a devil-may-care attitude to the niceties of rhythm and harmony. Descension offers four captivating long format delves into experimental sludgerock, where single-mindedly repetitive percussion battles with wadges of lo-fi distortion and jagged scrapyard klang. 

PLAN B

Descension is Aluk Todolo debut full length after a highly praised 7 inch and what a debut this is. For 37 minutes you tumbled through, get hypnotised and brutalised by this nightmarish, lo-fi , head-ripping and psychedelic black mind fuck. Taking in elements of black metal, krautrock, locked grooves, noise and black/ ritual psychedelics to summon up something that is truly of their own diabolic making- this feels like it could have been made by blood thirsty satanic   hippies that have just crawled from a suffocating dark forest to play in front of you & scary the hell out of you. The music engulfs you in it’s looped, smogy and sometimes seething  presence, as the drums pound on and on as if played of human skin drums, bass and guitar get smudged, melted and smeared into each other. Like dark tripped out globules of sound that fall like strange enchanted entrails slipping from a vast black structure that stretches off over a blood red and black horizon as far as your eyes can see. This Apocalyptic ritual music for the end times, screw-up, nasty  and bitter yet inviting and hypnotic. One hell of a musical death-trip into the beating  black heart of this three piece. Truly music that threatens to swallow you all up leaving you in a limbo of Lovecafts making. I  cant recall a  project baised around just your  drums, bass and guitar sounding this strange, different and hellish. This is available in both cd form from  public-guilt and  on vinyl from riot-season. 

MUSIQUE MACHINE

Following a hefty bout of ‘summoning up dark forces’, Grenoble’s stalwart BMers, Diamatregon, have collaborated with fellow Gallic disciples of The Black, Vediog Svaor, to raise the spectre that is revered as Aluk Todolo. Named after Indonesia’s indigenous religion, Aluk Todolo roughly translates as ‘the way of the ancestors’, which is the particular shining path this inventive & largely spontaneous trio have elected to follow. Recorded in a cave in the Alps over the summer of 2006 after ‘extensive ritual ingestion’, Aluk Todolo’s debut long player, ‘Descension’, features 4-porky prime cuts of esoterica-inspired instrumental eccentricity that veers from the Blackness of Burzum & Striborg, leftwards, across the dual carriageway signposted ‘UK post-punk circa 1982′, before parking up for the night in a kruatrockian lay-by to slip into a substance induced trance! Aluk Todolo claim they have no idea where their music comes from - or where it’s going to - & even after several intense sessions with ‘Descension’, I must admit, I’d have to agree with them.

Side 1 of ‘Descension’ opens with ‘Obedience’, a gargantuan slab of BM inspired organic psychedelia that rumbles ominously and relentlessly towards its apocalyptic finale, bombarded by all manner of disharmonic fret-board pyrotechnics and abstract noise as she goes. A subdued, post-punky guitar figure shapes ‘Burial Ground’, interspersed with the sound of giant insects arguing about who gets to go first on a decaying corpse over a minimal metronomic beat. Quark, strangeness & charm, indeed! Side 2 gets off to a strident start with the insistent ‘Woodchurch’, a feedback drenched exercise in stating the ‘bleeding obviously fantastic’ over & over again, ad infinatum. A flurry of fuzzed-up slide guitar introduces ‘Disease’, before we slip into a narcotic informed coma haunted by disembodied voices and stabs of untreated noise.

So, there we have it: ‘Descension’: 37-minutes of endlessly evocative discipline steeped in magik ritual & invocation. 

TRAKMARX

France’s Aluk Todolo earned significant praise on the back of their debut seven-inch, so much so that they had no problem finding international distribution for their first full-length. Like the seven-inch, Descension is a thorough exploration of the crossroads between scratchy, arcane Krautrock and black metal noise. The opening “Obedience” starts with a dense but distant industrial atmosphere and drums that slowly pick up steam. Then something that sounds like a train runs the atmosphere over and continues to run it over for the remaining six minutes of the track, during which the layers of screaming whistles and the rackety drums remain basically unchanged. The following “Burial Ground” is a lot easier on the ears. There, a slacker drum pattern and bass progression solemnly support drifting fogs of whispering devils and a brutally tortured guitar that phases in and out of time for the entirety of its ten minutes. Granted, it sounds like they’ve got some good ideas for a minute or two, but they pad them out to ridiculous lengths and don’t end up really going anywhere with them. They need to learn the lessons of succinctness and/or progression, but it is their debut album, so time is on their side. 

POP MATTERS

Occult noise mavens Aluk Todolo turn loose this ghoulish set of pseudo-black metal cacophonies for the Riot Season label, guaranteed to be about twenty times harsher than your standard genre emission by merit of its James Plotkin mastering job. As usual, it sounds as though Plotkin's got his favourite distortion unit involved, saturating the track to the point of fizzing overload and giving the guitars a good mauling. The drum sound is obscenely lo-fi, sounding like someone assembling flatpack furniture two doors down. The band's brand of instrumental metal clears up occasionally to reveal webs of disharmonious string clamour, only to ultimately return to its noise blizzard default setting. Oh yeah, it's also worth pointing out that this album was recorded "in the Elder's Cave". Sweet. 

BOOMKAT

This album by Aluk Todolo deftly blends the cold and dark aesthetic of Black metal with the cosmic trance and experimentation of Krautrockers such as Can and Faust, to great effect. Across the album's four epic tracks the moods and styles are very different, from bracing blizzards of guitar noise to hypnotic metallic rhythms and guitars, it's almost a post-rock album in some ways, but with a difference in influences and intent, the feeling here is raw and lo-fi compared to the studio gloss of post rock. It's a great album and an experiment that works well. 

WARPMART

"I’ll now conclude this month’s reviews with DESCENSION, the epic debut album by France’s Aluk Todolo. For their playing unites Krautrock with Zeuhl via classic No Wave, and rocks mightily. Commencing like the soundtrack from some forgotten gulag escape movie, this power trio’s time-honoured guitar/bass/drums line-up is outstandingly meditative and un-clichéd. Once the album kicks deep in there, it’s as though these gentlemen are hypnotized and playing along while watching an animé interpretation of Ted Hughes’ Iron Man (now re-titled ‘The All New Adventures of Iron Man’ and in its third series replete with failed Scrappy Doo counterpart), and in this episode he’s fumigating the entire West Midlands conurbation with an all-purpose Heavy Rock deodorant/pesticide. Very Cleveland, very Can, very This Heat, very Magma, but very much its own original thing, and definitely another necessary part of the puzzle that leads us to the Rue d’Awakening. 

JULIAN COPE / HEAD HERITAGE

Finally, the first full length from these mysterious French post black metal krautrock alchemists. And if you think calling a band French post black metal krautrock alchemists might be overdoing it, you haven't hear Aluk Todolo.

An offshoot of black metal horde Diamatregon (who have one record on tUMULt, and another one coming soon), this trio, just guitar, bass and drums, are most definitely alchemists, working some sort of ancient magic, turning the simplest of rock band instrumentation, into something massive and mysterious, heavy and haunting, brutal and mesmerizing, repetitive and motorik. Crafting songs, that manage to be both pieces, in the classical sense, abstract and intellectual collections and arrangements of sound, subtle shadings, tonal color and timbre, harmony and dissonance, and SONGS, in the rock sense, fucking kick ass jams, that seem to go on forever, killer riffs, and relentless head nodding rhythms, like krautrock, only heavier and darker and way way blacker. Like black metal but without all the buzz and howl, stripped down to its very essence, to just mood and rhythm, ambience and propulsion.

In the review of the previous 7" we described the band's sound as: Ominous krautrock rhythms over Einsterzende style industrial clatter, some lost seventies psych rock holy grail channeled through modern post rock. Dreamy and dark and mesmerizing. Hypnotic guitar lines and simple shuffling rhythms that build into clattery propulsive jams, all clanging angular riffs and dense tangled drumming. VERY This Heat like, and reminiscent of the late great Laddio Bolocko. Some sort of dangerous and mysterious postrock / krautrock hybrid, lo-fi but thick and dense and amazingly heavy.

And the full length essentially still sounds like that, but having loosed themselves from the shackles of the way too brief 7" format, the band can take all those elements, and lay them out, an epic massive post rock, krautrock, dronerock, experimental post black metal sprawl. These are the kinds of songs and sounds that need space, and time, need to lull the listener in, to entrance, ensorcel, the rhythms are stripped down and repetitive, looped and hypnotic, simple, but surprisingly and subtly complex at the same time. It's not hard to hear other hypno rockers in Aluk Todolo's sound, Circle, Salvatore and the like, but also space rock masters of repetition, Hawkwind, The Heads, and of course krautrock legends Can and Faust. Especially Can, with their focus on the power of the rhythm, no mater how seemingly simple or plain. But more than anything, it's legendary UK experimentalists This Heat whose, haunting mysterious rhythmic influence is all over Descension.

The opening track is the heaviest, a brutal slab of in the red distorted riffage, the actual riffs barely discernible, more like a heaving mass of crumbling distortion and space rock FX, but the rhythms that frame the whole record are already in place, pounding steadily beneath the buzz and skree. A head nodding pulse underpinning the swirling distorted clouds above. A bracing and white hot burst of blackdronekrautpsych that has the speakers rattling for all of its 8+ minutes.

But that track mostly serves as an intro to the complex and moody rhythmic sprawl that makes up the other three tracks. "Burial Ground" begins with what sounds like a slowed down This Heat rhythm track synched up to the free abstract drift of legendary seventies dronepsych collective Taj Mahal Travellers. The drums unwavering, but the background constantly in flux, swaths of black buzz, brief flurries of chaotic FX, distant low end swells, haunting fragmented melodies, a gorgeous spare kraut rock jam dropped into the abyss.

"Woodchurch" is a dense wall of high end buzz, all swirling distorted hum and keening feedback, tones all tangled up, a chordal wash of tuned vacuum cleaners, a sort of Sunroof! Style urdrone, but beneath it, the simplest of bass lines, distorted and downtuned, a heartbeat like throb, only a handful of notes, just enough to tie into the even simpler drum part, just kick drum and snare, a two step tattoo, as completely mesmerizing as it us utterly simple. The background buzz, swaying and pulsing, like some massive black sea, or clouds of insects ravaging a blighted sonic landscape.

The disc closes with "Disease" which opens with an ultra heavy slide guitar, unfurling a slow motion blues riff, caked in black buzz and thick distortion, the notes left to hang, ringing out until the tones slowly transform into feedback, immediately being swallowed up by the riff right behind it. It's like Robert Johnson playing SUNNO))), and then suddenly, the sound shifts, and the band reverts to its murky trawl, a thick throbbing bass line, another Can like rhythm, guitars warm and warbly, more like a layer of wet fuzz than distinct riffing, but occasionally, bits of that opening salvo return, offering up brief blasts of speaker destroying crunch, or brief bits of grinding buzz, a sudden start that almost, but doesn't quite wake you from your soporific reverie. Near the end, the distorted slide guitar returns, and drums drop out, and the track finishes with a thick coda of pealing guitar roar and shimmering chordal drones.

Intense and hypnotic and heavy and fucking genius. Ritualistic sounds, both black and brilliant, pulled from the void, a mysterious and sonic netherworld. Definite contender for record of the year. 

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