CD-R/free download, Earthrid, 2007
Better known for his association with H. P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos, Clark Ashton Smith is, in his own right, a master of weird fantasy, as well as painter, sculptor and poet. Though he considered himself primarily a poet, he produced a significant body of work in the form of short story prose, the settings of which varied from the earliest times of the Human race in the mythical continent of Hyperborea, to Zothique, the last continent on Earth, and through many other places, including the fictional Averoigne in medieval France.
In “Abominations Of Yondo,” Cousin Silas and Kevin Busby present a selection of soundscapes inspired by the fictional writings of Clark Ashton Smith, weaving an aural tapestry of processed field recordings, quasi-ethnic melodies and piping, peculiar string arrangements (harp?), ominous chanting and ghostly melodies on the threshold of hearing. Though extremely evocative in their own right, the compositions presented are perhaps ideally suited as a literary soundtrack to accompany readings of fantastic fiction by Clark Ashton Smith, in particular the brooding stories set in the desolate continent of Zothique during the last centuries of a dying Earth, or those in which indescribable entities and other planes of existence intersect with our own. Cousin Silas and Kevin Busby succeed in creating a collection of sound constructs that perfectly captures the mood and setting of Clark Ashton Smith’s darkest writings, to the point that the compositions presented herein do not require much effort from the listener to imagine the landscapes and entities found in the fiction that inspired the music in this release, although a penchant for and some knowledge of fantasy settings is obviously a prerequisite. Where a set of ambient soundtrack compositions risks becoming dull, “Abominations Of Yondo” remains engaging throughout, easily grabbing the listener’s attention and imagination, taking that individual on a vivid aural journey.
Perhaps this sort of dark ambient soundtrack is not adequate for everyone and, in large part, its appeal is bound to be subject to the extent of one’s imagination. Naturally admirers of Clark Ashton Smith, H. P. Lovecraft and similar writers will find this an essential release for their collections. Others should also check it out, if only because the album is available as a free downloadable release, in addition to the CD-R purchasable version of higher sound quality.
— Miguel de Sousa