Vespero — Shum-Shir
(Tonzonen TON030, 2017, LP)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2019-02-02
Russian psych-space-Krautrockers Vespero (Ivan Fedotov on drums, percussion, and drum machine programming; Arkady Fedotov on bass, synths, and flute; Alexander Kuzovlev on guitars; Alexey Klabukov on keys and synths; and Vitaly Borodin on violin) have been working on a musical project called Abyssinian Tales with Shum-Shir being part two (2016’s Lique-Mekwas is part one). To put things into context, Shum-shir is an ancient Ethiopian ceremony that occurs every ten years for the tribal elders and shamans to choose a new Nəgusä (king). The ceremony involves building a fire of eucalyptus leaves and twigs plus secret drugs that when inhaled provide a hallucinogenic trip with everyone bursting out into all-night dancing. The cleansing flames tower above the ancient trees and the tribal spirits Isidore, Gully, and Gaya. In their drugged-out state they perceive their spirits selecting the new Nəgusä . At dawn, this man dons white robes to the sound of the heavenly Hapi drum and the tribe begins a new life. Vespero has taken this ceremony and translated it into a suitable tribal psychedelic jam of five instrumental tracks: “Shum-Shir,” “Isidore’s Dance,” “Gaya’s Dance,” “Gulli’s Dance,” and “Hapi.” Much of the music is firmly in trippy Ozric Tentacles’ realm, but when Vitaly’s excellent violin excursions enter the mix, the music soars off into uncharted territory. “Gulli’s Dance” is a particularly blissed-out jam where you can easily visualize the stoned elders and shamans swaying to the dance. All in all an interesting take on psychedelic musical journeys.
Related artist(s): Vespero
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