The Kali Ensemble – The Kali Ensemble (CD, Phage Tapes)

dark ambient, Drone, harsh noise, Industrial, Noise, Review

The Kali Ensemble is the duo of Mike Page and Pentti Dassum, although on this release it would seem less like a collaboration of the two and more like each are disassembling and remixturizing each other’s work (note the “vs.” in both song titles). There are two quite long tracks on this CD, both hitting the 33:33 marker for a grand total of 66:66.

The first track on here is, I believe, Page’s contribution with “The Seven Tongues Mk. 1 (Page vs. Dassum)”. Page’s track is quite sprawling, opening with guitar drones and random twines of feedback outbursts, often loud and cloying in their pitch and range. But the track continues to expand with its drones until it develops into a rager of a harsh noise track, with Page layering on different noises, allowing it all to spring forth unexpectedly in a seriously aggravated display of electronics. After that, Page winds things down slowly, first bringing us back into a drone and then ending with a rhythmic tune of bells and metallic odds and ends, an exotic mix that is both hypnotic and strangely out of place.

Dassum’s contribution, “The Seven Tongues Mk. 2 (Dassum vs. Page)”, is a little more up-front in the mixing, with an industrial drone that often presents large lulls of sound. Snippets of electronics can be heard, like the ebb and flow of subtle synth-like sounds or the crash of static seas, but towards the middle of this track Dassum pares everything back for a simple oscillation of sound that hints at an explosion just in the distance, with everything fluttering and peaceful; likewise, there’s a sample of running water, birds chirping, along with the far-off peal of feedback that taints the sound and then envelopes it in a death grip of dark pulsating chords.

What we get from the Kali Ensemble is two tracks of great industrial drone dedicated to Kali. Both Page and Dassum contribute excellent tracks, pulsating and expanding through various exercises. If you have time to spare, devote your attention to the full length of these tracks – they’re well worth listening through as a whole.