Kinit Her – The Cavern Stanzas
If The Poet & The Blue Flower represented the spiritual sound alchemists behind Kinit Her as their most elegantly composed and controlled expression of esoteric music, then The Cavern Stanzas generates the perfect balance to the relatively light and airy soundscapes of these Wisconsin mystics last full length. It’s a wildly surreal dive into deep chthonic states, dreamlike metamorphoses, and grotesquely beautiful inversions of daylight consciousness. This is the kind of music that eludes rational thought or description; a feral un-reason lurks and slithers through these oblique compositions, revealing once again that Kinit Her is a many-headed beast capable of speaking in manifold tongues.
While the more abstract nature of this subterranean poetry implies a certain loosening of focus and clarity, Kinit Her is still able to realize their vision with a remarkable sense of careful craft. The production is full and suitably cavernous and the instrumentation and vocal performances have an untamed and ecstatic abandon without getting sloppy or over extravagant. Compositionally, the liturgy is divided into two long sides (this release being solely in LP format), titled “Murex Indigo” and “Pacing The Hollow”.
“Murex Indigo” is the listener’s initiation into The Cavern Stanzas, and it begins with a hypnagogic, oscillating synthesizer. This bewitchingly warped and trance-inducing sound is followed by rich horns, prayer bells, and then the manic chants and litanies of the vocals. The howls, groans, and trills that in certain ways define the sound of Kinit Her are at their best here, with a passionate and incommensurable performance that is excellently highlighted by the completely unhinged violin play. This rapturous incantation eventually wears itself down into a brooding and tumultuous morass of sound before something new and magnificent emerges from this gloomy chrysalis of noise; a meditative synthesizer melody, subtle but deliberate percussion, a gleaming violin drone, and deeply intoned vocals. In a certain (lack of) light, an association can be drawn with this restive moment and two related congregations: the devotional Circulation of Light and the ruminative Rain Drinkers.
From it’s inception, “Pacing the Hollow” is a distinctly more unnerving and unearthly pilgrimage. Screeching, scratching, creaking violins and a host of ghostly voices breathe a frenzied and maddening dreamscape into the listener’s mind, and even as they calm into a more relaxed state the ominous percussion, manic violin repetitions, and the nightmarish chorus refuse to relent for some time. This slowly transfigures into a hypnotic vision of ritual percussion and bass, overlaid with subterranean wind synthesizers and whispered growls. The image is that of a deeply transfixed mind envisioning Orphic symbols and shadowy transfigurations, and hearing voices in incomprehensible languages speaking below their skin. It ends with droning horns, cavernous tones churning deep below, and then nothing.
The Cavern Stanzas is an entrancing plunge into the unconscious, thoroughly realized and incomparable in sound and quality to anything else you’ll find in contemporary music. -Jake
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