Soriah - "Chao Organica in A Minor" (Beta-lactam Ring Records)
by Keith Boyd
Mysterious overtones collide and swirl, forming double-helix cathedrals of sound. The gothic and solemn voice of a church organ folds on itself, becoming two... three... four new instruments. These layers usher us into an interior space of reflection and transformation. The organ and guttural whistlings of the Tuvan-style throat singing have brought us here.
What we do in this space is up to us.
These are the musings that arise upon listening to the wonderful new release by Soriah, Chao Organica in A Minor. Soriah is a musician/artist/performance artist from Portland, Oregon. Although he has self-released a number of extremely limited CD-R's, this is his first disk proper, and Beta-lactam has pulled out all the stops. Artist Markus Wolfe (of both Waldteufel and Crash Worship fame) created the bold, pagan-inspired glyphs that decorate the cover. In addition to the black-line art, he extended the theme by creating stamps that are imprinted in gold-colored ink on the surface of the thick card-stock cover.
Soriah's art is a combination of Butoh dance, yoga practice, and magick ritual. He creates elaborate costumes from various ethnic clothing and masks. The spaces he performs in are chosen with great care, and include churches, desert dunes, and urban treetops. This combination of musical choices, visual presentation, and atmospheric enhancement make for a powerful experience, and to a great extent these values shine through on Chao Organica in A Minor.
The disk is comprised of two main tracks, "Exordium" and "Soliloquy and Epilogue". Each song has several movements within it, but they tend to move towards an opaque wash and delirious blur. The overriding outcome for a listener is a welcome trip through a hypnotically beautiful, yet slightly sinister, soundscape.