Hoor-Paar-Kraat - Asha Dasha (Goat Eater) by Keith Boyd 07.24.06
Subterranean passageways, cold and humid. An atmosphere of a ritual space unfolding. As we listen the mystery deepens. We are surrounded by a tight skin of claustrophobic sound. Letting go, we allow the sound to guide us onward. Ultimately there are no secrets revealed. The only answers we find are the ones inside us. There is a reptilian, almost alien intelligence at work here. Like a reptile, it regards us without acknowledging us.
Hoor-Paar-Kraat's new CD, "Asha Dasha" is a brilliant example of occult music and sound theater.
It's hard to write about the occult as it is essentially an experiential practice. The creative will of the practitioner turns the ritual space from mundane to extraordinary. I believe that the artist behind HPK is trying to invoke the sonic equivalent of these experiences and to a great measure, he succeeds. While there are no vocals on this disc and no credits to explain how these sounds were generated we can speculate. There is an eerie synth-wash drone that permeates most of the tracks and the way these washes unfolds is similar to the sounds of Steve Roach's work on "The Serpent's Lair" and "The Well of Souls". This music can at times be very dreamy but it never becomes ambient or background sound. There is too much unpredictable dissonance for that.
As I said before, I consider this to be a form of occult music.
Occult implies a type of hidden knowledge and is most closely associated with the Western Mystery Tradition. This tradition is based on rituals and self-work which leads one to the "Great Work" of communing with deities and angels. It has of course been misused to describe the drunken weekend, "Satanic" acting out of teenaged heavy metal fans. Putting aside this misguided usage we can see that there are occult aspects of many religions.
Islam has the Sufis, Judaism has the Kabbalah and Catholicism has the Saints. All of these traditions are expressions of humanity's deep drive to have a direct experience of the divine. In these moments of religious ecstasy our individual self disappears. We feel and become part of some infinite stream or channel in which there is no observer or observed. In which there are no questions or answers. Everything simply is. Being human we can only sustain these states for relatively short periods. Our rituals are meant to provide reliable access to get back into them. The mastery of both ritual and self are the underpinnings of most religions.
This music bears the stamp of someone trying to convey something of this message to us. I believe that the phrase, "A picture is worth a thousand words" is true. I also believe that a passage of music can be worth several thousand. This is experiential music. Music to be played loudly in the dark. The ambiguity and open-endedness of "Asha Dasha" allows the listener to enter deeply into the sound. By doing so we complete the music.
Our imagination encounters an infinite number of directions and we are free to follow any one of them to its' conclusion.