This is a blog devoted to music on the edge - experimental, underground, alternative, subversive, or just plain weird - new music that tries new things, or old music that broke old rules. It's a place to discuss ideas, share discoveries, to think about what makes music interesting and challenging but still good to listen to. Join in and have your say!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The shattering star of the night - Magdalena Solis and 'Hesperia'.

The final part of the trilogy of my great musical discoveries from the last couple of weeks, which began with The Gruntled and then was followed by the Paul Kidney Experience, doesn't come at all from my local musical underground, but from Belgium, in the form of an amazing and daring musical project called Magdalena Solis, who last year shared a Belgian jam with some members of The Gruntled and so, one thing led to another, and now their music, too, is being celebrated on this blog. This, too, is music built through the sheer energy force of musicians who connect and improvise and create, music made from the dregs and dross of organic chaos.

On their new album, Hesperia, Magdalena Solis create a wonderful world of pagan grandeur through music that feels rooted in the spirituality of everyone and no one. Its droning, often pentatonic, tonality at times sounds like an echo from the Far East, like in the album's opening 'Wake up and start to dream'. Hesperia's sounds come to you on a thick, unrelenting, unforgiving wave of electronic sound - the sounds of dense guitars, a spectral harpsichord, an apocalyptic organ, electricity stirring and groaning underneath the Earth - the notes sliding and dancing around each other in a hypnotic heathen ritual. It is mysterious, seductive - something to be feared in the way gods expect to be feared.

The music of Hesperia has an incredible sense of place - places that are darkly spiritual, places where Magdalena Solis plunge into black, gloomy chasms and then build monoliths of music, casting huge grim shadows on you and in you, as if you are standing alone and alarmed at the end of the world.

This is music that towers over you. It leaves you feeling small and frightened and, by 'Lunar Sunrise', at the album's haunted end, where a chilling, child-like tune is hammered out on percussion borrowed from another world, like an alien nursery-rhyme, you find yourself left hanging and helpless in a space that is huge and empty and where the only light is cold and grey, a dying sun reflected by a dying moon.

Hesperia is released on the Dying for Bad Music label and you can check out the album on the label's website, or have a sneak preview of the album's penultimate Prophetic Dreams. This is not music to calm or reassure you - but rather to remind you who you really are.

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