A little off the beaten record-track on the road to trip-hop, Afrobeats electrofied and neutron blooms, the musique concrète of avant-guarde musician and all-instrumentalist Professor Icastico continues its ascent, as he develops from Seattle his new incarnation: Aboombong. He just released his latest album Amnemonic, which follows close on the charged steps of Aboombong‘s first and second album respectively: Aboombong and Asyncronic. Icastico, whom I found also referred to as JC Thorne, exists in many other sound-mirror-facets : Anxiety of Silence, Psychic Enemies, and the warm and Eastern Sufi cloaked ¡para!helion. He remains mysterious, multiple and fascinating.
Aboombong‘s work is a mamouth of music references. He draws on ancient and modern heritage, plugged in a kind of electronic music that is more akin to musique savante – yet not hermetic – that shapes mesmerizing soundscapes and audio-visions. The all-new sonic canvas that Boulez, Stockhausen, John Cage once stretched – to name but a cornerstone few – expands and intensifies.
Amnemonic is a five track album, a 70 minute travel in and out of Afro-Asian forms, post-rock and post-punk anatomies, and IDM inclinations. Aboombong likes his instrumental toys, according to his list no less than all these are used, check this out: “Turkish darbuka, New Mexican wooden-headed goblet drum, Igbo Ekwe (two tone log slit drum), Ibo Ekpiri shaker, Vietnamese jack fruit danmo, camel bells, elephant bells, goat bells, 16-tine Thai temple bell, Mimi’s souvenir travel bells collection, Trinidadian tenor steelpan, 5-string table-top electric guitar, Kawai K3, one-man-army chants, Stylophone S1 orchestra, harmonica, drum kit. ”
I can’t help getting the sense that this album is a geographical map of an ancestry search and ultimately its discovery. From the first track “Cheshiahud Loop” the first branch of the genealogy tree emerges out from Seattle itself, and points to Cheshiahud, the dignified Duwamish Indian whose tombstone stands tall to this day in North Seattle, in the cemetry Evergreen-Washelli. Opening this track, bells loop, its score structure rotates on darbuka and percussions that support haunting indian calls, prayers perhaps. When the voices depart an engulfing drone releases its energy onto drums and reverberations (see Richard H Kirk).
The second track “From cracked and bloodied fingers” is a sea of raw strings, grits of treated guitar noire that lay the scene for explosions of punked drones, rolling towards soft statics of metal and brass noise (see Füxa and Mark McGuire).
” Cromsby Grovernor Worthington’s Jujujaiponmolam” is a massive track, both with regard to what its title entails and to its devilish interplay of Afrobeats, sweet deep guitar tones, hypnotic modulations and waves of drones. Juju (the Japan edition), that is, the Juju of Wayne Shorter came to my mind to mix with Siouxsie and the Banshees’s Juju album and the Juju music of King Sunny Adé. What a feast! I remain intrigued by the reference to Worthington, is it a relation of yours Aboombong?
The fourth track “Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan & Wang Hongwen in Dahomey” is again as loaded in musical references as its title is in historical ones. Jiang Qing, Mao Tse Tong’s wife and Chunqiao, Wenyuan and Hongwen, were the famous Gang of Four, arrested once the Cultural Revolution was launched and accused of wanting to take over power. Their sound-ghosts appear on this track but in Dahomey, the powerful ancient West African kingdom located in modern Benin. Granted, this is my take on historical and geographical winks but clearly from the music, Aboombong delights in mixing the waters of hemispheres, South and North. After Africa and the West, meet Africa and Asia. Starting with urgent blasts of drums post-punk, Aboombong unleashes on the air-bands guitars until they find peace in a single string (see Techno Animal).
The final track “Noon” is drone-driven and gorged with electro-flows. It journeys along sonic space until ancient bells call for awakening (see Aphex Twin, Füxa and Mark McGuire also).
Amnemonic is as multi-faceted as its maker, part cosmic jazz, part past and post punk fusion, a hybrid of classical; it is full blown musical freedom. The layers of each pieces are complex yet the result is minimalist, the spacey ambiance pulls on many worlds and geographies of influences but its unique pattern spell Icastico only.