Vinyl LP £20.99 SOD102
LP on Students of Decay.
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- Movements Of Night by Secret Pyramid
Secret Pyramid is the alter-ego of Vancouver’s Amir Abbey, who on this LP sculpts a series of blackened ambient drone drifts which cycle through deceptively melodic progressions all buried in scrambled distortion which rumbles and hisses its way into every crack in the soundstage, making for quite an overpowering listen if you have it turned up loud on your headphones.
Despite the bleakness of the textures, this is definitely a melodic album at heart, with subtle, slowly unfurling tunes poking out from the sonic detritus like shimmering jewels, dealt out a such sleepy patience that brings to mind Stars of the Lid or Germany’s S ND Y P RL RS. Closer ‘Escape (Fade Out)’ unblurs his instrumentation to the point where you can make out a guitar chiming tremulously in a muddy blur. It’s velvety nighttime listening which will appeal to fans of the likes of Nadja, Deathprod and the aforementioned groups.
9/10 Ian 10th December 2013
For a man who spends much of his time in pursuit of what the defunct Stool Pigeon magazine used to lambast as ‘aching beauty’, I can honestly say you can’t get much better than the opening track of Secret Pyramid’s Movements of Night lp, ‘A Descent’, which is, indeed, a mournful, tumbling descent – as beautiful as Stars of the Lid’s ‘Requiem for Dying Mothers’ or the close of Mountains’ ‘Sand’. For anyone without too many monochrome-covered ambient lps in their collection, that’s intended as high praise indeed. The rest of the album never quite lives up to that initial high, but it’s still an absolute beauty: ghostly, understated and pretty moving. Most tracks – ‘Quiet Sky’, ‘Closer’ – build slowly before drifting off into the night sky; tracks like ‘Move Through Night’, ‘Wish’ and ‘Escape (Fade Out)’ slowly unfurl with a stateliness not a million miles away from a stripped-down, instrumental This Mortal Coil; ‘To Forget’ has a hazy guitar line in there, with another lovely fade out. Some would say a 1 minute 44 second track like ‘Depths’, with its muted hum/tone and faint crackle, is barely there; I’d say, all great records are made up of this. It has its own singular vision; it is what it is; it plays the simple ball. The excellent Students of Decay label talk of ‘dirge-like drones . . . throbbing cycles of low end . . . and navigating the properties of sleep and unconsciousness, charting a course that is equal parts harrowing and funereal, tranquil and sublime’. Well, for sure, and 2014 is welcome, if only for the forthcoming vinyl reissue of Amir Abbey/Secret Pyramid’s The Silent March cassette. For now, this is the album to have on while you stay in on New Year’s Eve. (Lovely black and white distant galaxy shot on the cover too.)
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