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Bong – Mana-Yood-Sushai

Ritual Productions

The drone is king, it calls from the high mountain tops, it echoes in the valleys, it is the sound of ancient ritual or the smell of incense from temples, long may the drone exist.

Bong have had number of releases over the past couple of years, many of them in limited editions; this is their second release on Ritual Productions and consists of two tracks that last about 46 minutes in total.

Track 1 “Dreams of Mana Yood Sushai” starts with a low sitar like drone like a voice humming from the Himalayas calling people to prayer. A heavy bass riff begins to take over; this is joined by a clattering of drums, all keeping a funeral procession pace swathed in reverb from the mountains of madness. Ritualistic chanting vocals join in and the track seems to alter into an almost hymnal quality. It’s here we move from the outside into the darkened candle-lit space and a whiff in the air of necromancy. When the lead guitar hits in for its solo it brings an almost West Coast vibe into the track, its psychedelic meanderings sounding like Jerry Garcia on a downer. From here on in the ritual begins to speed up, the solemn voices drop back in and the dancing of naked bodies around the flames of a fire become apparent as wah-wah guitar hits into the riff and feedback fills the air. Slowly the track drifts away to a phased drone, like a movie camera panning away from an important event to give us a wider view.

Track two is called “Trees, Grass and Stones” and starts almost early Pink Floyd-like with a light guitar being hit and played through wah and then it begins to get picked, creating an atmosphere of drifting between trees. A guitar comes in and seems uncertain of what it’s doing by languishes in a desert of echo as the drums pick out a rhythm. The drumming begins to dictate the tune, similar to Bill Ward‘s drumming on “The Wizard.” The riff begins to build and suddenly we are in NEU! territory until we come back down to the humming bass. The sitar helps make this sound like a trip past temples on the flowing Ganges, the smoke and towers breaking the gentle lull of the skyscape. Again the guitars bring a wash of undercurrent psychedelia but here we are in a strange land where the buildings have reliefs of elder gods as the ancient tune rises.

Bong’s new album is a journey. It takes you to sun-filled plateaus but also to the shadowy places the sun’s bright rays cast. If you want to go on a travel to somewhere strange then Bong can take you to that very place as excellent tour guides.

-Gary Parsons-



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