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Church of Hed — The Autumn Shrine
(Eternity's Jest , 2015, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2016-01-18

The Autumn Shrine Cover art

The fourth Church of Hed release is this 22 minute three-track EP that kicks off with the amazing three-part title track which seems to channel Phaedra era Tangerine Dream with a side helping of Meddle era Floyd, clocking in at almost 14 minutes. While not a meticulous attempt to recreate the sound of either band, the influence of both are solidly felt throughout, and particularly effective in the Rick Wright-like opening piano passage sweetened by fat Moog swells, as well as the second section of sequenced synth madness with some interesting spoken samples at work just below the surface, while the intensity slowly grows, again returning to a Floyd-like zenith that could almost be an out-take from Atom Heart Mother without all the distracting orchestration; the piece closes returning to an extended electric piano figure with solid organ and synth backing fading into magical grandeur. Church of Hed is the workshop of composer and producer Paul Williams, former drummer and keyboardist with the band Quarkspace, which has been on hiatus for a few years now; the music herein is created solely using electronic drum kits, a dozen or so keyboards, and an array of effects – one won’t miss the guitars at all. Following the opener there are two shorter cuts “Silicon Rogue” and “Transaxiom,” the former plotting a Philip Glass-like piano figure over a web of criss-crossing sequenced synths, eventually fading away; the later is a more rhythmic workout with synth washes floating behind playful piano and synth melodies, perhaps reminiscent of early Kraftwerk or Neu, building into a swirling cauldron. Not a dull moment anywhere on this digital-only release.

Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): Paul Williams (Church of Hed)

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