CD: Cold Spring Records CSR47CD [2003]

The Sixteenth Trump
Age Of Terror
Novus Ordo Seclorum

New Zealand based Clear Stream Temple have only really been around since 2001 and is a project of Abby Helasdottir (Gydja). "XVI" was released last year on Shadowlight Kommunikations before this reissue (with extra tracks) on Cold Spring Records.

The whole release has a strong politial theme, centring around events of 11 September 2001 and the media manipulation of the time. The opening track "The Sixteenth Trump" begins, as the majority of the tracks do, with samples of news reports and political speeches contemporaneous to 9/11. This track contains electronic samples and a metallic beat throughout with an echoed Islamic voice. My favourite track of the album, it is a strong rhythmic piece with well-placed interruptions and underlying voice samples. "o.viform" features distorted female reporters leading into resonant wooden percussion and warped keyboards. A clever, well-executed piece of wordplay weaves its way throughout a speech by George W Bush of 9/11, replacing the words "freedom", "peace" and "justice" with "evil", ending with the quote "We go forward to defend [evil]...God Bless America". "al-Zawahri" incorporates Islamic voices samples with stronger and sharper percussion than previous tracks; lighter and more rhythmic. "Age of Terror", "Pentagorium" and "Novus Ordo Seclorum" are all tracks featuring military drums and percussion with repetitive, rhythmic beats. They are strong percussive pieces with some heavy electronics, resonance and even orchestral moments. They bring to mind releases by artists such as The Grey Wolves, Sophia and A Challenge of Honour. The stronger, political tracks on the album are "Djinn", "Seerat-ul-Janna" and "Capitolium" (an epic track at 28 mins) - "A timely attack on the US Bush presidential administration and all that has in store for us".

In conclusion the music itself is brilliant at times (tracks 1, 4, 6 and 9 are especially provocative) with wonderful dark ambient moments or bombastic rhythmic pieces. The artwork is also worth a mention - beautifully detailed and geometric in the Islamic tradition.

This release is very highly recommended and I can't wait to see what the future holds for Clear Stream Temple.


[Clear Stream Temple] / [Cold Spring Records]

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