Taiwanese duo Scattered Purgatory make dense droning musics defined by humidity, ritual, and shared love of ambient and industrial music. Sua-Hiam-Zun is a deep trip through many layers of synthesised textures. Certainly worthy of being your next drone purchase. Vinyl LP release, courtesy of the good people of Guruguru Brain.
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It might give you a little clue itself, but the term “Scattered Purgatory” actually refers to what the band describe as a “Taoist ritual which expiates the souls of the innocent from a state in between life and death and then at last, release”. It is, unsurprisingly, a fitting descriptor of their music, which is haunted by a backlog of next-world phantoms, seeping through the record’s corners in an ambient fog as if waiting to be dealt with.
‘Sua-Hiam-Zun’ has parts folk and metal to make a sum of psychedelia -- a swirling tapestry of guitar meditations, floating beats and terse, environmental soundscapes make this record feel desperately formless, a waiting room of unknown consequence. Certain tracks feel like industrial tracks without the physical shape; others, such as “Dream of the Yellow Sorghum”, posit natural worlds filled with chirping birds, but only far into an intangible distance. The mix of perpetuated electronic rhythms, choral murmurs and cymbal percussion make me think of Popul Vuh -- dreamlike but strangely artificial.
It’s unsettling, for sure -- but Scattered Purgatory isn’t necessarily a sinister thing. It suggests a guiding force, a helping hand that can tour you through the mythos between life and death. In this case, you’re in the band’s hands -- and they make a good soundtrack.
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