Review Summary: And so everything begins anewEcophony Rinne
is the hum of the universe being exhaled into existence. The birth of sound is darkly radiant, bathing the listener in the aura of cosmic wisdom. The primordial voices breathing timeless utterances and phrases of being are omnipresent, forming a cocoon of light that breaks the colorlessness of the void and imbues it with the patterns of life that stretch ever outward. These patterns methodically fill the infinite expanse, bringing with them the chaos with which we are familiar now, in the latter eons of the universe’s cycle.
I am glad I have approached these records going backwards. It is akin to viewing the course of life in the universe in reverse, beginning with the acceptance of death and rewinding back to the moment existence clawed its way out of the void, slowly filling it up with light and sound that will inevitably be swallowed by the darkness. Across these works, Ecophony Rinne
and Ecophony Gaia
, the shared themes of birth, death and rebirth are explored through sound that is drawn from a myriad of styles and heritages around the world.
While world music and new age are by no means a new phenomenon (even back in the 80s), Geinoh Yamashirogumi
is contemplative in the way they weave all these conflicting elements together into a coherent narrative. Chants that should conflict with one another are elegant pieces of an aural tapestry. And this tapestry is kept finely taut by focusing solely on the central theme. While Akira
and Ecophony Gaia
had their flirtations with more modern music styles, Ecophony Rinne
remains firmly entrenched in its mystical journey through birth, life, death and rebirth.
Even so, the seeds of the successive albums are clearly audible here. A softer version of the bang that opens “Kaneda” on Akira
opens “Primordial Germination”. Whereas on Akira
, it signified death, a world drowning in chaos, on Ecophony Rinne
, it signifies birth. In “Primordial Germination”, it is accompanied by a faded in cosmic choir that breathes sound into the void as the bang thunders out. The opening percussive melodies of “Reincarnation” are an earlier variation of the propulsive core of “Kaneda”. The contemplative chanting that binds this record also, while changing shape and tone, connects Akira
and Ecophony Gaia
together, maintaining the use of diverse choirs to fill massive silences with ethereal sound.
The most interesting element of the record occurs in “Reincarnation” which folds the universe back in on itself, reverting everything back to how it was at the start so the cycle of germination can begin anew. The patterns return to order and implode. Out of the resulting silence, the cosmic choir that opened the record returns, accompanied by rolling percussion that thunders out on the final notes. While this act of reincarnation is implied by the title of both the track and record, this rephrasing of the opening makes the record tighter and simpler than its successors and subsequently even more vital. A concept that could easily be characterized in a chilly and lifeless manner is given enough warmth to fill the emptiness.
is the beginning of a trilogy that ends with Ecophony Gaia
. Ecophony Rinne
meditates on genesis and the nature of existence, Akira
eulogizes the dead amongst the chaos of life and Ecophony Gaia
ruminates on what that life amounted to. While Akira
mourns and Ecophony Gaia
exalts, Ecophony Rinne
breathes life into being and thus is as frightening as it is beautiful. This brilliant universal hum is precisely what makes Geinoh Yamashirogumi
exceptional among their peers.