2CD, Transgredient Records, 2011
An anthology covering five years of the creative output of Voice of Eye – that should be hard to compile. And to make it more difficult, there is already a first anthology covering the years 1989 to 1991 on the intriguing Vinyl On Demand label. Seriously, one can only dream of a release there. So the aim for Transgredient Records – who, by the way, ONLY did Troum (!) releases so far – was set high, really very high.
The big question is if the release has the quality you expect, and the answer is that it even goes beyond your expectation. On two CDs a very good overview is created with several hard-to-find tracks as well as never-before-released outtakes from live performances. Voice of Eye always has a very organic approach in their music. The music could be labelled something like ethnic ritual drones, but it wouldn’t be fair towards some of the aspects in the experimental parts.
The first CD has fourteen shorter tracks, but with the first few tracks it’s immediately apparent that this is not the ‘usual’ VoE you’re getting. The sound is more heavy in its ground tone, where otherwise emotions are emphasized by the use of voices. And there isn’t much repetition in the composition; the ritualistic patterns are minimal. It’s more drones or soundscape-ish.
Starting at the seventh track, “Belladonna”, the compositions get more structured and melodic. This is the the time where I personally got to know their music, so it sounds more familiar. This second part of the first CD shows very clearly why VoE is one of the leading names in the ethnic ritual scene, together with, for example, the British O Yuki Conjugate.
There is one moment on the first CD which – for me personally – breaks the spell, and that is the more folk influences “Fluvio Labent”. By now all regular readers of Connexion Bizarre know I have certain difficulties with folk, but in all honesty, this is different. It’s a good track, but it’s the ONLY track on the CD which is this folkish. Because of that it breaks the trance you were drawn into by the mesmerizing atmospheres.
The second CD only counts three tracks, respectively 44, 19 and 4 minutes in length. “Sonic Works Live, Dress Rehearsal” is the 44-minute monster, and it’s awesome. Due to sound problems, the actual show and final practice were not useable, but if this is only a ‘third’ choice… Wow, impressive!
Also the second track, “Tryst #8 Eight-Ate (Excerpt)”, should be mentioned, as it is something completely different than the rest of this release. It’s an excerpt from a split release with Big City Orchestra. Yes, ethic ritual and experimental noise together are a very weird combination, so these 20 minutes are a very, very interesting listen.
The release closes with another folkish song, entitled “Butterflies And Unicorns”, released on a private cassette. Again, not my thing, but a must have for fans.
In conclusion, fans of this style of music should definitely get it. Fans of Voice of Eye, well, duh! And if you have a collection with several Troum and (older) Rapoon releases and you have never heard of Voice of Eye, then you should give it a try.
— Bauke van der Wal