Dec 2022 01

Album CoverMiscellen
Album: Black Mandala I
Category: Post-Rock / Experimental
Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2022-08-26


With Black Mandala I as the third album from Miscellen, the band has exhibited a rather particular modus operandi with its brand of atmospheric post-rock. Once again released exactly one year following the previous album, these eight tracks see a shift from the sludgy and psychedelic Western sounds of the preceding Lurid Orange and Blue Ruin records toward the more ancient and windy modes of the East.

This is readily apparent in the two “Odyssey” tracks, both incorporating the Oud, Tanpura, and even Ukulele to provide a droning Arabic or Egyptian ambience, while the sustained walls of distorted and wah guitar evoke images of windswept dunes – ethereal and mythical, free from geographical or historical constraints. The same may be said of “Gaian Dolls” as its groovy bass leads and guitar feedback underscore the vocal interplay of China Blue Fish ghostly melodies and Tyler Wolosin’s impassioned wails, while other tracks like “Nova,” “Wise Guy,” and “Gone Too Long” take on slower, more meditative vibes, Jason Sevanick’s throaty recitation beginning the latter track in somewhat epic fashion, strengthened by the inclusion of zither and Paul Green’s shrieking, distorted violin. Some lighter, slightly shoegazing pop flourishes arrive in the two “Stone Fruit” tracks, with China Blue Fish’s vocals in tandem with the resonant guitars wisping across the speakers like the sands of time.

The subtle electronics that adorned Miscellen’s previous records have all but dissipated in favor of the more organic sounds of Black Mandala I, serving the album’s distinct and esoteric character. Obviously, it will be intriguing to hear how the group will continue to extrapolate this merger of Western modernity with Eastern tradition on Black Mandala II… but if Miscellen holds true, we’ll find out on August 26, 2023.
Track list:

  1. Odyssey I
  2. Nova
  3. Odyssey II
  4. Gaian Dolls
  5. Wise Guy
  6. Stone Fruit I
  7. Gone Too Long
  8. Stone Fruit II

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Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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