Review Summary: Simple and instant. This is Sudatsuga's most accessible release to date.
Sudatsuga's latest effort, Syzygy
, is an artistic expansion upon the musical direction of its distant predecessor, Blue Moon Saiyeed
. Sudatsuga's music has often varied in sound, embracing several genres such as raga, folk, and droning ambiences to exude an ominous atmosphere that could be either trancing or discordant, depending on the aspiration of the mood. Needless to say, Sudatsuga's previous efforts have often been rather esoteric in nature, as their experimental and obscure directions have often served as an enigma for the listener to ponder upon and steadily comprehend with each listen. Syzygy, on the other hand, is much more accessible. It features different incarnations of selected songs from Blue Moon Saiyeed, completely acoustic and bare of any other kind of ornaments. Perhaps it's the simplicity of the music or the more conventional approach to its compositions, but Syzygy is certainly Sudatsuga's most instantly impressionable release to date.
We open with "Remnant Blue"
, which immediately introduces the prominent musical style of Syzygy. It's driven by a lively but catchy mandolin arrangement, with percussion bells jangling in the background which together help exude a very conspicuous 1960's folk sound. Graham Reich's singing is also another notable change in the music, he's much more confident and melodic than in his previous efforts. Giving the sound of the EP a rather optimistic tone, thus making it all the more alluring for the listener. The subsequent tracks continue along on this direction, and there lies the one and only flaw of Syzygy. Because it relies heavily on solely one musical routine, all of the songs are orchestrated with an identical structure and aesthetic, giving off the illusion of repetition as the EP continues along its course. "Haleuwae"
is one of the few non-instrumental songs whose mandolin playing isn't driven by elevated strumming. This piece is much more mellow and has a relatively delicate rhythm. It's certainly all the more intriguing because of its variance in sound.
The instrumental section that comprises the latter portion of the EP contains some of the major highlights of Syzygy. The Celtic inspired, "Ritual Lust"
, is perhaps the focal point of the entire performance. It has a very diverse instrumental landscape as we really get to see Graham Reich venturing along the melody of the song, indulging us with some enticing, yet exploratory mandolin solos. This piece, like the other instrumental numbers, relies more on musical adroitness to really captivate the listener. It's a very jubilant song and its displays of dexterity helps impress the listener more and more during its progression. In the end, Syzygy, really proves itself to be a very entertaining release. It's a very typical folk sound with some medieval-esque leanings. As I said before, the only drawback is the minimalism found in the orchestral approach of the EP. With the only noticeable variance being the rhythmic pace that alternates in certain songs, with the music evolving from mellow in some pieces while others are much more agile. It's interesting to see these some songs under a new light than that portrayed in Blue Moon Saiyeed, which Graham Reich has commented that Syzygy exhibits his initial vision for these songs. This EP is definitely one for any admirers of folk music, especially those who prefer the traditional approach to the genre, particularly a style reminiscent to that of the 1960's.