KSHETTRA - Five Mothers

Kshettra - Five Mothers

8 songs
54:35 minutes
***** ***


Not even two weeks ago, I reviewed Kshettra’s drum and bass / drone half-hour symphony Fire In Brake, and now I am already back at taking a short at their longplayer Five Mothers which was self-released in early 2017 but then saw a good year later a re-release on the Addicted label.

Although the duo is not quite as experimental as on the more recent EP, their music is still quite demanding. Three guest musicians add saxophone, trumpet, trombone, synth, double bass, mandolin, sitar and voice on selected tracks, plus the band’s use of the unusual Oxoma synth make sure that you still get a rich sound throughout the album.

The two-minute intro Conception is a gloomy synth piece that sets the mood for what is to come. Garura Lila is at four minutes the shortest regular piece on the album. We get a busy bass line, percussive beats and a wind section that show the band from its most accessible. The following Cikada relies even more on the wind instruments, and thus adds a jazzier touch to the music. Afterwards is when things start to become stranger. Godzindra contains samples from a South Indian flute album from the early Seventies and comes with a strong hypnotic vibe. At ten minutes, it uses every second to dive the listener into a trippy sonic ocean. Strong stuff that is! Walk Under The Moon is at a little over thirteen minutes the album’s longest song, and also its most experimental track, unravelling a sonic tapestry consisting of a darkly ambient sound. The Oxoma synth is being used to its fullest effect here, and even the trumpet only underlines the pitch-black doom jazz nature of this behemoth. Not easy to digest but the listener has to understand that this is a part of Kshettra’s nature too. Umbra allows for a little respite, starting a little like an early Frank Zappa song, with a prominent bass line and a nicely arranged wind section. Mechanoya is another long track at twelve minutes, starting out experimentally, but soon turning into the band’s trademark drum and bass sound, before at the eight-minute mark, things become very gloomy again, with a post-industrial percussive nightmare part. The concluding outro Crossing is only one minute long and ends the album in an abrasive way.

In some ways, I liked Fire In Brake a little better, but Five Mothers also definitely has its charm. For nearly one hour playing time, the duo plus their guests display a vast array of sounds that range from the short, accessible and maybe even danceable to long suites of sometimes atonal apocalyptic sonic creations. Not for the faint of heart, but those who like to explore the darker sides of music will be rewarded by an astonishing piece of art.

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