A Rise In The Chalcolithic seems like an awakening, and as such is perfect for the launch of a new label. Epic and immersive, the album has an ambience that feels huge, legendary and timeless. The oversized CD jewel box is a metaphor for the oversized sound, an attention to detail that bodes well for the future of Scotland’s Other Forms of Consecrated Life.
Tepe Gawra takes its inspiration from “an ancient Mesopotamian settlement located in present-day Iraq.” The focus is on ritualistic drones, sonically designed to imitate the entranceways to burial chambers. While listening, one can imagine the call to worship, the invitation to honor the dead; yet one can also imagine the pull of the needy spirits, an invitation less benign.
These slow moving, shimmering drones fade in like the rising moon and fade out like the first rays of sun. The melodious elements seem blurred, subject to a process of disintegration. One can sense the timbres of the wind, albeit heavily muffled; even the synthesizers sound like woodwinds, which are themselves a human manipulation of a natural property.
An ancient power is embedded in this music. Beneath the drones, one can feel humanity’s great struggle, marching on through time as if through an infinite desert. The cover image of a time-worn, ancient artifact conjures images of long forgotten civilizations and pagan rituals. The Chalcolithic Era (arriving just before the Bronze Age) was steeped in superstition, yet also gave rise to much of what we now understand as modern civilization. We Rise In The Chalcolithic is bursting with raw, untapped power, yet one can imagine that once upon a time, the same power called down kingdoms and brought forth priests. A testament to a world lost, the album manages to resurrect a portion of this nearly-forgotten power, and as a result feels moving, breathing, and alive. (Hutchinson/Allen)