Album of the day: Master Musicians of Bukkake – Totem Three

Praise for Master Musicians of Bukkake‘s Totem Three from San Francisco’s aQuarius Records: Yet another mantric missive from these musical missionaries and cosmic sonic seers, a collective of sorts, its membership drawn from several somewhat similarly likeminded groups, including Earth, Sun City Girls, and Burning Witch among others. And as with past installments in the ongoing Totem series, here the Master Musicians weave lush, slow building soundscapes, drawing on all manner of musics, Eastern ragas, Western space rock, minimal dronemusic, experimental ambience, freaky forest folk and who knows what all else, woven deftly into dark, brooding, expansive epics.


Totem Three begins ominously with chiming bells, a deep rumbling synth drone, tinkling chimes, a darkly meditative drift, deep vocals, horns and other low tones, are all layered on top of that initial drone. The sound swept up by slow shimmering swells, laced with strange spacey effects, just below the surface. An intro of sorts, leading directly into the much more traditionally song-y ‘In The Twilight Of The Kali Yuga’. Those shimmering swells from the first track carrying over, but in the place of the drone, strummed steel string guitars, fluttering flutes, sitar like buzz, Eastern hand drums, and the quickly song coalesces into a surprisingly jaunty bit of Middle Eastern sounding folk, rife with hazy vox, and tabla, as well as other percussion. Before the record returns to the drone of the opener.
But again, that rumbling buzzing synth is overlaid with some sort of woodwind, balancing the ominous vibe of the drone, thick downtuned guitar chords are unfurled, as are bells, and chantlike vox, the result a strange sort of Eastern style folky dirge, SUNNO))) like guitars beneath a meditative raga.

The record splits the rest of its time between a buzzy, Middle Eastern style folk, lush with fiddles and handclaps, and group vocals, albeit with a bit more buzz and strange sonic filigree than actual traditional music, soaring string laden almost soundtracky ambience, moody and dramatic, and haunting minimal dronemusic, replete with moaning horns, creepy incantations, glitched out electronics, finally finishing off with a seriously left field bit of cinematic weirdness.  That basically sounds like the soundtrack to some eighties straight to video Indian movie, all cheesy eighties synths, groovy Euro disco rhythms, and of course some bloopy bass and some shredding guitar solos. The sort of thing that would definitely appeal to folks into Zombi and Umberto and the like.

Compared to Totems One and Two, Three seems to lean a bit more towards the atmospheric, away from the heavy. As always weird and wonderful, with appropriately eye popping psychedelic cover art courtesy of Seldon Hunt.

At 40 years old, Aquarius is the oldest independent record store in San Francisco. We try to only carry music we love, and we’re always searching for more new, cool, weird and wonderful music. All of which we then share with you, our loyal customers.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, May 8th, 2011 at 4:07 am and is filed under 2011, Album of the Day . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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