Tajak ~ Ciclos

A swirl at the edge of an emotional cliff, a bright light pouring from a crack in the back of your skull – the psychedelic pathways opened by Mexican band Tajak are diverse and multiple, but they all come back to the rock n’ roll intensity of low guitar crackle and sweeping riffs that push your mind towards slow, meditative extremes. It’s not in vain that they invoke the name of the great Bardo Pond, grounding the band’s sound in a lushness of color and reverb. Tajak, however, mold this abundance into a soundscape of immobile deserts and distant, soundless storms, the singing a subconscious mélange of half-formed words that ripple through narratives that dissolve at the horizon.

To me, there’s even a hint of Kyuss in the riffs of tracks like “Camino”, which (appropriately) leads straight into the hard rock of “I’ve Seen It Fall”, its speed and texture a vibrant contrast of particularity and detail in an album that prefers totality. Ciclos is, after all, Spanish for “cycles”, and the cover art reminds us of the beautiful richness at the heart of minute life, every sound a movement, every tone a color, every color lost in the reverb an atom without which the composition of the whole would be amiss. This grand heterogeneity works as if it was also an infinite repetition, the ragas in the backbone of tracks like “Ojos de Agua” a deep concern with continual return, a return marked not by rupture but by mutation.

Mutation is what best characterizes tracks like “Ciclos” and “Campanas”, their continual low-key guitar grumbles and blurred singing suddenly bursting into riffs and feedback, the beetles feeding from the flower in a frenzy that will eventually subside. Still, there’s a soundscape quality to all this movement in the ways in which the instruments’ volume fills the air, like experiencing the band live. “The Drop” grooves like sustained breath, a widening and narrowing of noise that blooms towards uncertainty even as its base repeats. Mysticism is of no concern to this sort of psychedelia – only the aural imagination with which we cover the entire world, every day, every night, again and again, always new, and always old as well. (David Murrieta Flores)

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