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Un Festín Sagital – Deimos/Etna

Black Horizons/Self-released

Un Féstin Sagital - DeimosUn Festín Sagital‘s Deimos has just four tracks over its twenty-three minutes and appears both as a cassette on Black Horizons as well as digitally, but makes its presence felt forcefully via whatever medium. There’s more than a slight affinity for the murky avant-garde sounds of a previous cassette era, with “La Ofrenda Danzante del Cuerpo Enamorado” emerging and folding into electronic static while scrawls scuttle malevolently over a drum-machine rhythm. Lurching like some of the now-legendary participants in the famed Eighties industrial tape culture Elephant Table Album compilation, the song embarks on a crawl through the digital margins of music as the vocals are barked militantly like a protest chant. The title track is a winding drone and tone pan-continental collaboration with Denver’S Decidious Flux, which brings haunting, mournful melodies to float eerily over a bed of tremulous rumbles that evolve into an encroaching sense of inevitable dread.

This mixture of the ominous with layers of more apparently benign sounds tinkling away the time signatures from linear into almost non-Euclidean territory finds its most unsettling expression in “Ni Sobreproteccion, Ni Descuido,” an all-too brief foray into audio chiaroscuro which matches Jesse Peper‘s unsettling cover imagery well. Deimos could easily bear being twice the length, but as Un Festín Sagital are on something of a release spree, there’s plenty more to enjoy.

Un Féstin Sagital - EtnaEtna is a case in point, though here the mood is perhaps more conventionally musical, with two tracks breaking the ten minute barrier and one stretching out to over a third of an hour. “Arboles Negros” unwinds languorously in a jazzy-folk-rock improvisation which stretches out in highly psychedelic fashion, Hammond and flute weaving a floating platform of harmony while the bass and drums settle in for the long-haul groove and the band’s mainstay Michel Leroy lets his guitar glide and twirl freely in space. Often dripping delay and soaring straight towards the third eye, Leroy’s playing unfurls in a single-minded display of controlsed freakout technique which knows just when to pull back from the brink as much as how to nicely judge the moment for unleashing the fretboard fireworks.

Free piano runs around string clouds in “Lakonn,” a rocky number which froths with freeway energy that soon bursts into satisfyingly coruscating guitar riffing, Leroy staying the right side of bombastic while channelling FX-pedal massacres among the four-to-the-floor chug of a nifty little space rock number in full flow. The meandering introduction to “Anubis: Sueño y Muerte” prefaces the main action in suitably mordant fashion; and this mood continues even as a huge guitar sound thunders in with muscular presence and hangs there on seemingly indefinite sustain while the drums ripple out in proggish rolls which could not fail be impressive to witness being played live onstage. Likewise, “El Asesino del Sol III” shifts gears from the mellifluous to speaker-shakingly frantic with a deft collective hand leading the listener on a trip through some subtle shades of cosmic rock along the way.

But here’s the thing – while much of the instrumentation and its performance could so easily bring the worst excesses of prog to mind, Un Festín Sagital are far more subtle and interesting than that. So when a gentle flute glides over an easy shuffle, the sense of melancholy which it brings has far more eloquence than many who dip their toes in the waters of post-folk rock could ever hope to achieve. The band’s assurance is as evident as their musicianship, which neither strays into self-indulgence nor outstays its welcome. This is as equally apparent in the long-form variations and excoriations of the twenty minute-plus title track as when the band let rip in  blistering phantasmagoric spasms for the jagged grind of “Acéfalo,” which breezes in and out of the album in a self-contained burst of short-form energy which compacts a serious amount of brain-melting into the space of barely more than two minutes of turbulent art-rock.

Satisfyingly outré, Etna brims over with plentiful bouts of seriously far-out music which more than deserve the attention of space cadets everywhere; and while it’s currently available from the group’s Bandcamp site in high quality, it’s one of those albums which also cries out for a vinyl release one day.

-Linus Tossio-

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