Night of the Ankou by The North Sea & Rameses III
Night of the Ankou is an immense collaboration between London-based psychedelic-ambient three piece Rameses III and Tulsa's finest free folk rebel, Brad Rose aka The North Sea. Rose might be better known as the brains behind Digitalis, a multi-media wyrd folk empire acting as a CD-R label, magazine, book publisher and full-blown label, but it is his own musical compositions that remain at the core of whatever he turns his hand to. As with many overseas collaborations these days, the two acts have never actually met in person -- instead they worked by re-moulding each others' tracks, working their own ideas into the skeletons of that of the other, and the result is mesmerizing. The opener "Death of the Ankou" is a hypnotic journey into the instrumental ambience explored by such acts as Popol Vuh or Stars of the Lid, yet adds a sense of cinematic adventure which could be compared to Type's very own Deaf Center. We are transported quite promptly into a spiritual world of water, bamboo, beauty and restraint which is simultaneously calming and beguiling. The second piece, entitled "Night Blossoms Written in Sanskrit" is different; the ambience is filled out by echoing guitar, and the mood goes from peaceful and spiritual to truly triumphant. It would even be possible to compare this track to the later work of Slowdive -- it has that same blissful, life-affirming quality which makes you remember why you loved music in the first place. The disc is polished off by a remix from the Type Records boss himself Xela, and pulls together the ideas explored in the first two tracks, adding elements of his own signature production. Drones and bowed guitar squeals are spread densely over light percussion, harp and otherworldly sounds to produce something unusual but hugely enjoyable. This may be Type's first foray into the weird world of psychedelic folk music, but given the deep ambience and mysterious cinematic beauty of Night of the Ankou, it is a match made in heaven.