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Arrington de Dionyso

I See Beyond the Black Sun

Rating: 1.0

Label: K Records

I See Beyond the Black Sun’s album artwork is comprised of several sketches of a naked woman, drawn by de Dionyso, each one the slightest bit different from the next. She is wide-eyed and seems completely comfortable with baring it all. The art fits the album pretty well, as de Dionyso’s second solo effort away from his time in Old Time Relijun contains nine tracks, named as different songs yet containing the same tiresome droning.

The easiest way to describe the album’s sound is to imagine, if you would, the beginning of “In the Light” from Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti. It’s a little bit of South Asian drone that marks a logical step forward from that record’s previous song, “Kashmir.” It ties the two together, helping bind together an album that sometimes was all over the place, considering it was largely pieced together by earlier record outtakes. On I See Beyond the Black Sun, Robert Plant’s voice never kicks in, naturally, to shift the mood into another direction. Nope, it’s as if the record gets stuck on a loop and the drone goes on and on.

Don’t get me wrong; drones can be cool. But even Bowie understood that he had to keep the weirdness in check, relegating only portions of Low and Heroes to experimental weirdness. de Dionyso is certainly capable of songs; Old Time Relijun’s “Daemon Meeting” is wicked, bizarre fun, sort of a combination of Cramps and Screaming Jay Hawkins. Instead, this multi-instrumentalist fills an hour of your time with the sound of groaning into a wrapping paper tube (go ahead, try it at Christmas and impress your friends).

If I were to point to any sort of real achievement by this record, it’s that de Dionyso lists himself as performing vocals, bass clarinet, shruti boxes, and “several homemade instruments.” The lengthy explorations sound so similar in tone that it’s a little difficult to determine what instrument is which, or whether it’s de Dionyso’s voice or not. So, if that sort of thing impresses you, I guess, go for it. The only time any steam is gathered is when Old Time Relijun drummer Germaine Baca appears out of nowhere on the ending title track. His musical entrance is revelatory, as the record had no drums until that point, and it may be something for de Dionyso to think about for next time.

It’s a little hard to imagine someone during tough economic times such as these plunking down some hard earned wages for this joyless record. If people dig it, however, it wouldn’t be entirely bad. It could signal a return to music being played inside the home; music as something to be done, instead of music as a commodity, or something only professionals do. I suggest everyone sit themselves in front of a box fan this Thanksgiving and practice recording some throat singing into those whirring blades.

by Chris Middleman

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