Scivias – Stong-pa-nyid

People who know the first album of Scivias (And you will fear death not in 2000) on Eis & Licht and who expect more folkloristic elements from this Hungarian band, may be surprised by this totally different record. Personally I was prepared, having seen the band live a few months ago with this new material. Gone are the acoustic instruments and the Hungarian folky vocals. This new record contains only two long tracks, lasting over half an hour. The sound is dark, ritual and somewhat psychedelic. Some references which you could make are Hybryds, Zoviet France, Autopsia, or early Current 93.

According to the promo information, stong-pa-nyid is a Tibetan saying that can be loosely translated as voidness. Nevertheless the sound of this record is rather intense, but it gives me a feeling of being lost in a snowstorm or even of drowning now and then. The sleeve has a fitting hazy mood. Apparently the musicians of Scivias have used various acoustic instruments from Tibetan culture. Especially percussion plays an important role to evoke a spiritual atmosphere.

The first track is rather slow, a ritual soundscape built on drums, bass, subtle distortions and drones and various organic sounds. After a while some spoken declamations are added to the delicate and fragile sound collage. The last minutes of this track have minimal electronic and piano sounds which a magical, almost fairytale-like mood. A detailed composition which is very pleasant to drift away on while listening with headphones on.

The other track has a much more heavy monotonous sound, which I appreciate more at high volume. The drums are heavier, the chanting more commanding and the distortion and bass sounds much denser. It has an occult mood and a hazy, psychedelic sound. The last minutes are calmer, like slow sonic waves which give you space for introspection, with a more distorted final part which confuses your thoughts again.

Having listened to this record I feel exhausted, though the compositions are very repetitive and rather minimal, with only subtle alterations and changes. Though the record lasts 34 minutes, I have the feeling that I’ve been listening for 2 hours. I think it says something about the intensity of this recommended record.

artist: Scivias
label: Eis & Licht
details: 12", 500 copies [Eis 041]