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Eldritch Priest — Omphaloskepsis
(Bandcamp no#, 2022, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-05-27

Omphaloskepsis Cover art

om•pha•lo•skep•sis (om′fə lō skep′ sis), n. contemplation of one's navel as part of a mystical exercise, or as an aid to meditation — a perfect title for whatever this is. Eldrich Priest is a Vancouver, BC based professor in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, and writes on sonic culture, experimental aesthetics, and the philosophy of experience from a “pataphysical perspective.” He is also a composer, improviser. and guitarist. “Omphaloskepsis” in this case is one 54-minute solo guitar improvisation, or so the mp3 player tells me — I have to confess that I have never managed to make it all the way through to the end, typically dropping out around the 40-minute mark, give or take some. The piece consists of electric guitar noodling, without any repetition or rhythm per se, with various electronic sounds and guitar effects fading in and out as the piece proceeds, it really doesn’t have any structure, speeding up and slowing down randomly. The applied effects don’t make a whole lot of sense either, like ring modulators, subharmonic generators, and other devices, plus what sounds like a theremin, that make his already strange guitar sound even more fractured and alien. The only thing I have in my memory banks to compare this to are Fred Frith’s Guitar Solos, although Frith’s solos are but a few miutes long and tend to have some degree of rhythm and melodic color. Omphaloskepsis on the other hand has little of either, I find it interesting for about the first fifteen minutes or so, then it progresses onward to boring, and eventually just annoying. That’s my reaction though. I suspect there might be some folks out there who might think this is really cool, you know who you are, and that’s why I’ve posted the Bandcamp link below.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Eldritch Priest

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