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