From Kether to Malkuth

T’ien Lai
Da’at
POLAND MONOTYPE RECORDS MONO071 / MILIEU L’ACÉPHALE MA10 CD (2013)

The dull glow coming off this exotic gold on black digipak; showing two masked/hooded figures might point towards being a subscribing member of the Sunn O))) Knitting Circle and Scrambling Club. and, while the drone gong of doom is struck at certain moments, Polish scholars Luzask Jedrzejczak (synths/vox) and Kaba Ziolek (synths/gtrs/perc/vox) a.k.a. T’ien Lai appear to have thrown in their lot with the German school of kosmiche aesthetics instead. With their Da’at c.d., deep space reverb and chittering electronics are fleshed out with pitch and yaw dynamics to sculpt imposing largos of overloaded interstellar dread. “Tron” and the ominous “Jitron” employ simplistic/repetitive keyboard figures that are supplemented by atmospheric folk-referenced vocalese. Madonna’s “Vogue” makes a very unexpected appearance in “Gloria” before being absorbed into an ocean of crackling static which then leads to a looped (?) acoustic guitar strum that really does knock on infinity’s door…no bad thing in this instance. This, of course, can’t fail to trigger off connections with the copyright-baiting antics on Faust’s “Why Don’t You Eat Carrots?” with its Beatles/Stones drop-ins. Making that a further k-rock link, unless of course, I’m reading too much into this dark matter confection. But it’s too late to stop now, as there’s also an interesting sideline to all this. The album title translates as ‘knowledge’ and comes from the ‘Kabbalah’ (as does ‘The Sephiroth’ – the Kabbalah’s ‘tree of life’; pictured on the c.d.’s inside sleeve). I remember that Madonna and entourage attached themselves to this obscure arm of Jewish mysticism a couple of trends ago. So is this why the material girl’s, erm, essence was decanted on track four? I wonder…

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